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15-Nov-2017 09:36:00 GMT
India v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Kolkata

Sri Lanka face uphill task for positive start

Kolkata: Captain Dinesh Chandimal is dreaming of Sri Lanka making history by winning a Test in India -- despite being huge underdogs against the world's top-ranked side when the series begins in Kolkata on Thursday.

Sri Lanka lost all nine matches -- three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international -- as they were humiliated at home by Virat Kohli's tourists from late July to September.

The island nation have still never won a Test on Indian soil but they head for Eden Gardens with renewed hopes after winning both Tests against Pakistan in the UAE last month and Chandimal believes dreams can come true.

Sri Lanka lost all three home Tests this year against India inside four days with Chandimal terming it their "worst ever" series.

Fifties from Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella gave Sri Lanka a solid start to the tour in their two-day game against the Board President's XI in Kolkata.

All-rounder Mathews, who is returning from a calf injury that made him miss the Pakistan Tests, will be employed solely as a batsman.

Veteran Rangana Herath will lead Sri Lanka's spin attack, supported by Dilruwan Perera and left-arm unorthodox Lakshan Sandakan.

India are looking to consolidate their top Test ranking and keep their winning run intact on home soil.

The Indians have not lost a home series in any format since being beaten by South Africa in one-dayers in 2015.

Sri Lanka will be India's last home challenge before heading off on tough tours to South Africa and England next year.

With leading all-rounder Hardik Pandya rested for the first two matches, the focus will be on senior spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were rested for the last month's limited-overs matches against Australia and New Zealand.

Teams from

Virat Kohli (capt), Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Roshen Silva.

Stats and trivia

  • Ashwin eight wickets short of 300 Test wickets. If he takes 8 wickets in the series then he will be fastest reached this milestone. Dennis Lillee picked up three hundred wickets in 56th Test while Ashwin played only 52 Test match till now.
  • Umesh Yadav six wickets away from 100 Test wickets while Dilruwan Perera needs seven wickets for same landmark.
  • Sri Lanka captain Chandimal requires 70 more runs to completes 3000 Test runs.

Match facts
November 16-20, 2017
Start time 0930 local (0400 GMT)

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