Ajinkya Rahane

Kohli to go with six batsmen theory as Rahane likely to get another opportunity

[caption id="attachment_59013" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Indian team in a practice session ahead of the Kotla test. Pic Courtesy: XtraTime Indian team in a practice session ahead of the Kotla test.
Pic Courtesy: XtraTime[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Delhi: A confident Indian team will look to continue its dominant show against Sri Lanka in the third and final test match which starts at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground from tomorrow. Virat and his team have a 1-0 lead following the win in the second test match at Nagpur.

With the Kotla test match being the only preparation before the tough South Africa series at the beginning of next year, the team management will look to tick all the boxes. Except for the form of Ajinkya Rahane , all the batsmen has been amongst runs in the series.

After the batting debacle in the first innings of the first Test, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul enjoyed a fruitful second innings with scores of 94 and 79, respectively.

Murali Vijay, who was surprisingly kept out of playing XI for the first Test, came into the side in the second game in Dhawan's absence to score 128.

Now with Dhawan back in the squad, it is indeed a happy problem fo
r skipper Virat Kohli, who has to choose two quality openers among three.

Had Kohli himself opted out of the third Test, then it would have been easier to fit in all three knowing that Rahul can also play at the No.4 position.

But with Kohli playing, it would mean that one of the openers will have to sit out.

A bold decision could have been to drop an out-of-form Rahane from the playing XI and accommodate all three but that could be detrimental to the Indian vice-captain's confidence as he will be a vital cog in the wheel for India in overseas conditions. With Rohit Sharma scoring a century in Nagpur, the Mumbai batsman will get another opportunity, suggesting the team management will go with six batsmen.

As far as the bowling combination goes, a fit again Shami can get back in the playing XI, meaning he will partner either Umesh or Ishant. The wicket at Kotla suggests that the team management might opt for an extra spinner which means Jadeja or Kuldeep will partner Ashwin.

The visitors are being handicapped with the absence of their injured veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. But whether he would have been effective is debatable as the Indian batsmen played him confidently in recent times.

To make matters worse for the Lankans, Angelo Mathews, who was supposed to take Sri Lanka cricket to the next level, has been woefully out of form.

The Feroz Shah Kotla track may not be as flat as the one at Jamtha, where India scored 610/6 declared but it also won't be a green top like the one they got at the Eden Gardens.

Ishant Sharma, who had a match-haul of five wickets, wo
uld like to retain his place in the side even if Mohammed Shami gets injured.

The last time a Test match was held at the Kotla in 2015, visiting South African team took the match into the fifth day.

Whether Dinesh Chandimal and his team show the same character is a big question.

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