Doomsayers in Sri Lanka are bracing themselves for a whitewash by the Indians in the two Test series, but I have a gut feeling that the tourists will be no pushovers.
Dimuth Karunaratne leads a Sri Lankan outfit unusually sitting at the top of World Test cricket championship rankings currently in it’s infancy.
The Lankans are a team looking for resurgence and is stacked with a blend of youth and experience. But expert predictions strongly suggest they will be blown away by the powerful Indians led for the first time by Rohit Sharma.
Emotional attachment by Indian fans celebrating former skipper and cult hero Virat Kholi’s 100th Test may lift the home team and fend off any possible challenge.
India will be in the process of evolution under Sharma, axing several seasoned campaigners for new talent in a bid to build depth. Their fans will be praying the over confidence by the selector’s will not backfire on them.
Sharma at number six, Kohli at seventh and Dimuth Karunaratne at number eight in the world Test batting rankings make this a fascinating series despite all predictions.
Sri Lanka have a complex team of unpredictable youngsters who have the talent to become overnight super heroes.
Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, and absent youngsters Wanindu Hasarsnga and Mahesh Theeksheena form a formidable promise for the future.
With the experience of former skipper Angelo Matthews, recalled Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Suranga Lakmal and Niroshan Dickwella in this squad, it should be a tighter contest than anticipated through mentoring.
The absence of Hasaranga, Theeksheena, and Kusal Mendis will be a void hard to fill. But the fringe players in Sri Lanka’s ranks will prove if they are worthy of future consideration.
India sits at the top of Test cricket rankings and the Lankans seventh. The series will reveal if the Test championship leaders will show enough spirit to justify that temporary pole position.