Rex Clementine, in Island, 8 October 2017
The national cricket team will fly off to Calcutta today morning for a seven week long tour in which they will play three Tests, three ODIs and three T-20 Internationals. It will be Sri Lanka’s first Test tour to India in eight years. Since touring India in 2009, Sri Lanka were scheduled to make a visit to the neighboring country in 2015, but that series was converted into a home series after a request by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to come out of a financial crisis.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne has been in good nick in the last few series and needs 60 more runs to complete 1000 runs in the calender year.
Sri Lanka have never won a Test match in India. Along with India, Australia remains the only other place where Sri Lanka are yet to win a Test match. India are ranked number one in Tests and beating them at home will be a tough ask. India’s strong batting line-up is complemented by their champion spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who played a key role in routing Sri Lanka 3-0 in August.
England were the last team to win a Test series in India in 2012. In the last 12 years, that is the only time India lost a home series. Since the 2012 series, India have won seven series at home and that gives you an indication how tough it is to beat them at home.
Although Sri Lanka won their last Test series to end Pakistan’s unbeaten run in UAE, their form in all three forms in 2017 has been indifferent
The Sri Lankan squad is significantly different from the one that played the Indians at home in August this year due to injuries and loss of form. It will be also the first assignment for former batsman Tilan Samaraweera, who has signed a two year deal with SLC as the team’s Batting Coach.
Former captain Angelo Mathews returns to the side having missed out on the UAE tour due to a hamstring injury.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne has emerged as Sri Lanka’s leading batsman in 2017 taking pressure off the shoulders of Mathews and captain Dinesh Chandimal. Karunaratne has scored 940 runs this year and only South Africans Dean Elgar and Hasim Amla have scored more runs than him in Tests in 2017.
Sri Lanka will spend eight days in Calcutta before the first Test match at the iconic Eden Gardens. Prior to the Test series, Sri Lanka will play a two day warm-up game against Indian Board President’s XI also in Calcutta.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunarathne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (Wicketkeeper) and Roshen Silva.