India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Live Cricket Score
India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Live Cricket Score
Whenever India play at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, they are often put up about eight kilometres away in Chandigarh, the neighbouring capital city with all the creature comforts of Mohali but better. It’s an interesting bus ride to the stadium, with the orderly streets slowly giving way to the modesty of a satellite town. Everything turns a little less planned, a little more improvised and a whole lot quieter. Perhaps the chronicles of Indian cricket flourish better in these climes, for the venue prides in plenty of them. On Friday (March 4), it’s going to add another.
The first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali will also be Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match, and it’s poetic that he’ll be playing it at the very venue where he first captained India on home soil. It was never planned this way, but it can often be hard to be oblivious to Mohali. Maybe that’s why the 16 floodlights are in place.
There’s no denying that Mohali lacks the urban romance of being Kohli’s IPL homeground, but the venue’s relationship with Kohli runs deeper. After all, the two go back in time in a format that Kohli has taken to like no other. He’s been Test cricket’s biggest cheerleader for a while, championing a format for India at a time when it desperately needed tending to. Mohali is where it all started for him in a way, where he first asked his home crowd to marry his team. (Thank goodness they have been allowed to attend this match.)
Kohli now returns to Mohali as a part of Rohit Sharma’s team. He’s been there, done it all as the captain of India and it’s time to shine the spotlight on Kohli-the-player, who’s gone a bit missing in recent times. It’s not so much about the lack of runs as it is about the living image of him scoring the runs. Give us some more of those extra cover drives and pull shots; the wristy flicks and the loudmouthed celebration when he makes the triple digits.
As for the team, they need Kohli more than ever, especially in the light of the recent churn in the Test team. Without Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, India are vulnerable in the middle order — the irony being that the sea changes have been made to ensure exactly against that. But it’s probably time that India try to find solutions with some new faces onboard. Which makes this series an audition for this “new era” that’s about to hit us. It’s all set to feature Jasprit Bumrah’s vice-captaincy, Mohammed Siraj’s persistence and a middle-order featuring some or all of Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer.
The last time India were without a couple of their old-timers at home though, England snuck in a historic series win back in 2012. It will not be outlandish for Sri Lanka to eye something similar, although there are caveats to how big they can dream.
For one thing, Sri Lanka have a huge statistical inertia to shake off. For a side that’s won Test matches and series in England and South Africa, they are yet to crack the code for winning in their next-door neighbourhood. They are without a single win in their 20 attempts in India and have gone through generations of great players while at it. Perhaps, Suranga Lakmal’s last international series and captain Dimuth Karunaratne’s 75th Test could rustle up something special. Mohali can certainly lap up some more history.
When: India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test from March 4 onwards, at 9:30 AM IST
Where: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
What to expect: Rohit Sharma has had a look at the pitch and expects a “typical Indian pitch” that will turn, but he isn’t sure whether it will take spin on the first afternoon or the fourth. The venue plays to India’s strengths; they have lost only once in 13 Tests here. More recently, they have beaten Australia, South Africa and England, with two of those wins coming after losing the toss and bowling first, so maybe it would be wise to not jump to conclusions right at the toss.
The track isn’t going to be as quick as old times but expect value for shots and slow turn as the game churns along. About 50 percent of the seats will now be available to fans, so expect some noise although crowd attendances in Mohali over time have left much to be desired.
India: Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill will be eyeing the two middle-order spots which are up for grabs after a long time, although even Rohit Sharma “doesn’t know” which two players will make it. Vihari, who’s done the hard yards over the last three years, is expected to be slotted at No.3, with Shreyas Iyer taking up the No.5 spot. Mayank Agarwal, who was amongst the runs most recently in South Africa, is likely to retain his opening spot alongside Rohit.
Ravichandran Ashwin was picked with a rider but as vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah confirmed, the offspinner looked good to go three days out from the Test. Ravindra Jadeja is also fit and available once again, and should slot right in.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (C), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne and Niroshan Dickwella are back for Sri Lanka and should make the playing XI, with the former replacing Pathum Nissanka at the top and the latter taking the gloves. Kusal Mendis was included in the squad subject to recovery from a hamstring injury he picked during the fifth T20I against Australia, but he isn’t fit yet. Dushmantha Chameera is set to be rested after the white-ball games.
Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Lahiru Thirimanne, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama
What they said:
“My best memory of Kohli is his Test hundred in South Africa in 2013. The pitch we were playing on was very challenging, it had a lot of bounce and a lot of us were playing a Test in South Africa for the first time. To then face Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis… it was never going to be easy but the way Virat batted in that match, scoring hundred in the first innings and 90 odd in the second, was sensational. It was one of his best knocks. He had made a hundred in Perth in 2018 too but I think the one in South Africa beats that.” – India captain Rohit Sharma on Virat Kohli’s best knock
“Captaining in the country’s 300th Test is a great feeling. I did not expect it. It is a great honour for me. I will try my best to give the best result for Sri Lanka.” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne on the country’s 300th Test match
India Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Priyank Panchal, Srikar Bharat, Saurabh Kumar
Sri Lanka Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dinesh Chandimal, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Dushmantha Chameera