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Sri Lanka in pursuit of maiden Test win in India as Mohali preps for Kohli’s special 100

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Last updated on 03 Mar 2022 | 07:27 AM
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Sri Lanka in pursuit of maiden Test win in India as Mohali preps for Kohli’s special 100

Here is a statistical preview for the Test series between India and Sri Lanka

After a successful limited overs stint as the fully-appointed captain, Rohit Sharma starts his conquest in the longest format of the game against Sri Lanka. India has been undefeated in the limited overs format under Rohit, post the T20 World Cup 2021. Throughout the year, Rohit will be captaining in the longer format only for three matches including the rescheduled fifth Test against England.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play two Tests, starting from 4th march 2022 in Mohali. In the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship (2021-23), Sri Lanka have played two matches and haven’t lost a match. With a 100 percent win record in the current cycle, they are sitting pretty on the top.

The last time the two teams met in a Test series was in 2017, which was in India. India won the three-match series by winning the second Test match (1-0). In fact, Sri Lanka in the last five Test series against India, haven’t won a single one, including two series losses and one drawn series in their backyard. Overall, India and Sri Lanka have played 16 Test series and India have been victorious in nine of those and Sri Lanka have won three, the remaining four have ended as a draw. On top of it, India have won all their last 14 home series, the most by a team.  

Sri Lanka’s win-less runs in India

In the 44-match history between the two teams, Sri Lanka have won only seven matches with a win/loss ratio of 0.350. Only against Australia, they have less wins (4 in 30 matches) and a poorer win/loss ratio (0.210).

To their worst, they are playing against one of their nemesis teams in a country where they have never won. All their seven wins against India in Tests have come in Sri Lanka. While playing in India, Sri Lanka have drawn nine Tests and lost 11 out of the 20 played. Among teams that have played 20+ matches in a country, Sri Lanka is the only team to have a winless streak in a country.

All geared up for Virat Kohli’s 100th Test

Despite the lack of form, Kohli's illustrious career is just not about the last two years. A young 22-year old charismatic and enthusiastic player, to be precise “the Punjabi tevar (posturing or attitude)”, took the cricketing world by a storm.

Apart from the debut year 2011, Kohli’s average never came down to the 40 mark till 2020. In each calendar year from 2012 till 2019, Kohli had at least two centuries. In the first Test against Sri Lanka, Kohli is all set to play his 100th Test match. He will be the 12th Indian player to achieve this feat. The latest entrant among Indian players to the 100 club was Ishant Sharma.

Second quickest Indian to 100 Tests

Kohli had become such a vital cog in the Indian batting line-up that, from 22 November 2011 till 16 Mar 2017, Kohli hadn’t missed a single Test for India, in total 54 matches. A shoulder injury while fielding in the third Test against Australia in Ranchi in 2017 forced him to sit out in the fourth Test.

In a span of 10 years and 257 days since his debut, Kohli will be making his 100th Test appearance. Among Indians, in just 9 years and 271 days only Rahul Dravid took less time to play his 100th Test. Throughout his career, in the 99 matches played by Kohli, he has missed only 13 matches for India, out of which seven were between March 2017 and January 2022 and the remaining six came in the debut year.

India’s stalwarts separated

The biggest and not the least expected changes to the Indian squad for Sri Lanka, were the omission of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Within opportunities provided, the two Indian stalwarts failed to make significant contributions and led them to be outcaste.

Pujara made his Test debut in 2010 and suffered a knee injury that forced him out. Nearly after one and half years, he made his return in 2012 against New Zealand and smashed 159 in his first innings. Post that, he cemented a spot in the playing eleven. Rahane on the other hand, was known as India’s overseas tour specialist.

In any case, for the first time after 10 years, India will be playing a Test in which both of the players aren’t involved. The last time this happened was in 2012 against Australia in Adelaide.

Ashwin set to become the second highest wicket-taker

The right-arm off spinner went past Harbhajan Singh in the New Zealand series to become the third highest wicket-taker for India in Tests. Ravichandran Ashwin now sets his eye to become the second highest wicket taker as he needs only five wickets to go past Kapil Dev’s tally of 434. In addition, among spinners overall, he needs four more wickets to go past Rangana Herath to acquire the fourth spot.

In the two series he has played against Sri Lanka, Ashwin bagged 21 wickets in three matches in 2015 and 17 wickets in 2017 in Sri Lanka and 12 wickets in 2017 when they toured India.

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