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My admiration for Rohit, the captain is duly recorded in all my articles for the last 5 years. Now a team without Pujara and Rahane would have been unthinkable after a series win against Australia in 2021, but in one year a lot has changed.

India defeated Sri Lanka hands down in the T20 series, 3-0, and the Man of the series was Shreyas Iyer, so the younger generation is ready to take over the mantle. Sri Lanka has played 20 Tests in India and they are yet to win a Test in India. So India enjoys ascendancy. The last three series have been won by India and two of them were in Sri Lanka.  So, statistically, India has all the aces.

The match also holds a very a lot of importance for the former Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, who is set to play his 100th Test match and will become just the 11th Indian to achieve the feat. 

Mohali records

In Mohali up till now, 13 Test matches have been played, out of which India has won 7 and lost just one of them, that too in 1994 against West Indies. The last match was played in 2016 and India won it comfortably.

The average score of the first two innings is 300+ but 3rd innings is 231 and 4th innings is only 125. So it means that the pacers can move the ball on the first day but it is a paradise on the 2nd and 3rd days.  The 4th and 5th days are conducive to spin bowling and chasing anything more than the 150 mark could be a tough task for the batting side.

Match timings

Match Toss Time: 09:00 IST (03:30 GMT)

Match Start Time: 09:30 IST (04:00 GMT)

Match Venue: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali

Head to Head

Matches played: 44, India: 20, Sri Lanka: 7, Draw: 17

Teams

India

The opening will be done by Rohit and Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli, and Shubman Gill/ Hanuman Vihari will be the batsmen. Pant to don the gloves. While Jadeja and Ashwin are set to fill in the all-rounders’ slot. Bumrah, Shami, and Siraj as the spearheads.

All-rounder Ashwin on account of fitness maybe can be replaced by Jayant. A special mention for Hanuma, he has only played overseas tests and he has played many useful innings. In India, his domestic average is 60+, which is the highest among all greats. He can also bowl and be an option as the third spinner.

Sri Lanka

Dimuth Karunaratne and Nissanka are a handful opening pair. Lahiru Thirimanne,  Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, and De Silva will follow. Niroshan Dickwella can replace Mendis if Mendis is not deemed fit to play the opener.

Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, and Lahiru Kumara as pacers. Lasith Embuldeniya and  Praveen Jayawickrama as spinners.

I wish to apprise my readers that Sri Lanka is the only Asian country to beat South Africa in its backyard. Primarily this team exacted the victory.  Sri Lanka is hit by injuries to their spinners Hasaranga and Mahesh. If they would have been there then teams would be evenly matched but it will not be a rollercoaster as in T20. Sri Lankan batting is good and they can put up a resistance.

Probable playing Xl

India (IND): Rohit Sharma (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill/ Hanuman Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Mohammed Siraj

Sri Lanka (SL): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva (VC), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara.

Toss

Winning the toss means batting but pacers can cause damage so it is the factor to declare the winner, It is 2nd innings that decides the outcome.

Jasprit Bumrah is no longer the same bowler and the way he struggled to take wickets in South Africa, a similar story will repeat. It will be the duo of Ashwin and Jadeja, who will enact the victory. I expect Indian batters to capitalize on the weak bowling of Sri Lanka.

Verdict

India is going to win the match but it will be a closer affair than T20. It will be a partnership rather than hundreds which will be crucial to winning.

Cricwizz predicts India to win the 1st Test and lead the 2-match series, 1-0.

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