Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja,Rangana Herath and Kuldeep Yadav © AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja,Rangana Herath and Kuldeep Yadav © AFP

Subcontinent is a spinner’s paradise. The key to win here is play spin well. In 2015 when India toured Sri Lanka, the hype was all around Kumar Sangakkara as the first two Tests were going to be his last. Rangana Herath spun Sri Lanka to a famous win at Galle. There on, it was more of a Ravichandran Ashwin show. He got Sanga out four-out-of-four times. He got wickets. He scored runs. India had won a Test series in Sri Lanka after over 2 decades.

India start favourites again. They are the No.1 Test side. They have Ravindra Jadeja, the No.1 Test bowler. They have Ashwin, now the No.3 Test bowler. There is enough mystery in the young Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who has been bamboozling smartest of batters with his angle and variations. Kuldeep picked a four-for in the practice match. Sri Lanka too have enough mystery in their Chinaman Lakshan Sandakan but will they play him is the million dollar question.

However, Sri Lankan hopes are pinned on the bank clerk, on whom the side has heavily banked since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan. Herath is expected to lead in the first Test. India were troubled by left-arm spinner Steve O’ Keefe in the Pune Test earlier this year. So if the pitch is conducive for spinners and Herath can find his magic cloak, a grand upset is likely.

Let us look at the numbers of the champion bowlers. For Kuldeep, let us refer to his First-Class numbers since he has played a solitary Test.

Bowler M W Ave SR BB 5w 10
R Herath 81 384 27.7 59.6 9-127 31 8
R Ashwin 49 275 25.2 52.5 Jul-59 35 7
R Jadeja 30 142 23.1 61.6 Jul-48 8 1
K Yadav (First-Class) 23 85 32.6 52.1 Jun-79 3 0

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The first Test between India and Sri Lanka starts at the picturesque Galle from July 26.