Deciding on the six batsmen
Virat has plenty of options to pick his top six batsmen. While Murali Vijay, the captain himself, Saha the keeper, Ajinkya Rahane remain automatic selections, it remains to be seen who among Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul make the cut.
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Pujara has been struggling off late, Dhawan roared back to form in Bangladesh and Rahul fell short of a ton in the unofficial Test against Australia ‘A’. Going on current form, Pujara is expected to warm the bench, at least for the first Test.
Even if Rahul edges out Pujara, he has Rahane to deal with. Rahane has been India’s most consistent performer, with tons on his every away assignment. It’s a catch 22 situation for Virat for the no.3 spot.
Going by the current team, the batting order should go as Vijay, Dhawan, Rahul/Rahane, Kohli, Rohit and Saha. And, in all likelihood Rahane will play the opener.
3-2 or 2-3?
Virat favours playing five specialist bowlers. The question this time, however, is three seamers or three spinners? Taking into account the nature of surfaces in Sri Lanka and the success Yasir Shah – Pakistan leggie – enjoyed against the hosts, the skipper might be tempted to go in with a spin-heavy attack.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar remains the first seamer and the second spot could go either to Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav.
Possible XI: Vijay, Dhawan, Rahane, Kohli, Rohit, Saha, Ashwin, Harbhajan, Mishra, Ishant, Bhuvneshwar