Can the Lankan Lions break their duck against India?

Can the Lankan Lions break their duck against India?

November 13, 2017   02:03 pm


Indian cricket is currently going through a wonderful phase and had just registered commanding wins over Australia and New Zealand in the limited overs matches and will now face Sri Lanka for a full series. 

Not too long ago when India had toured Lanka, the hosts were comprehensively beaten (9-0; across formats) and there was a sense that SL is struggling to stay relevant and this loss of form could be a prolonged one.

India vs Sri Lanka contests over the years have been very competitive and has always produced quality cricket. When Sri Lanka made their Test debut in 1982, India was seen as a big brother and coincidentally SL registered their maiden Test win against India and that win set the ball rolling. SL, despite being a tiny island, has always punched above their weight and have always taken pride in their cricket. India, the No 1 Test side, over the past two and a half years under the dynamic and energetic leadership of Virat Kohli has played exhilarating cricket and have proved to be a tough opponent for every opposition irrespective of conditions.

This upcoming tour on paper looks like a mismatch, but cricket is not played on paper and SL are fresh from defeating Pakistan 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates and have nothing to lose. The pressure will be on India to maintain their high and lofty standards.
Lankans are yet to win a Test match in India, and even when SL used to boast players such as Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Aravinda De Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga victory still proved to be elusive and this batch of players will have to play out of their skins to outsmart India.

The men in blue have played like a well-oiled machine in five-day format and Kohli knows the workings of the team and the team has enough experience to steamroll SL again. The core of the team is fairly settled and most of the players know their role well and the team has gelled well and have played the crunch moments very astutely.

The series will provide opportunities to players such as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja (not being part of one-day squad) and Murali Vijay (returning from injury) will have a point to prove and this tour could be a good preparation for the much hardened and gruesome South Africa tour. India will have the added advantage of playing Sri Lanka recently and the visitors’ squad has not changed much and there will be baggage of past defeats hovering over Lankans.

Sri Lanka will be up against history as defeating India in their own backyard has been pretty tough, with India since 2000 has only lost two Test series {2004 vs Australia (2-1), 2012 vs England (2-1)} and India in recent past have played like a unit and if Lanka wants to upset the apple cart then they will have to raise their game and in current context looks like an uphill task.

International cricket is crying out for a contest and the battle between No 1 vs No 6 side in the world might not set the buzz, but Dinesh Chandimal has nothing to lose and if the likes of Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal play well and guide youngsters then SL can finally break their jinx and create a history of beating India in their own backyard. If that happens then we are surely in for a very good series.

- Free Press Journal 

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