The Test series between India and Sri Lanka concludes this week when the third and final match takes place in Delhi. India secured a share of the series with an emphatic win in the second game in Nagpur last week and will win it if they avoid defeat here.
Sri Lanka know that they have to win this final game to come away with a share of the spoils but if they are going to do that they will need a massive improvement on what we saw in their previous performance.
Although they clearly have their eyes on what is to come in the New Year, such is the competitive element to this Indian side under Virat Kohli, they are giving it their all here and we saw that in the previous match when they barely put a foot wrong throughout. If they can repeat that they will have a very good chance of winning here too.
There is a lot of cricket to come for India so it could be that their biggest opponent is taking their eye off the ball and looking towards what is to come but one thing which might stop that is the depth of squad they are building. Anyone who comes in needs to take their chance to put pressure on the established player which ensures good competition.
After offering something early on in the series in Kolkata, Sri Lanka were beaten out of sight in the way we would have expected them to be when they arrived in India a few weeks ago when the sides met in Nagpur. We know they are better than they showed there based on their results against Pakistan but this is a tough India side they are up against.
The big problem for the tourists in their defeat last time out was that they were pretty poor in all formats and were outplayed throughout. Sometimes positives can be taken if you bat or bowl well but they didn’t do either so they have a lot they need to find just to be competitive in this match let alone actually have a chance of winning it.
Shikhar Dhawan missed the previous match but he has been seen training ahead of this one so he could return here. There is no signs that Virat Kohli or any of the bowlers will be rested.
Sri Lanka will go into battle without Rangana Herath who has been ruled out of the match through injury. That means Lakshan Sandakan is expected to play to offer something different.
Feroz Shah Kotla
This will be the 34th Test match to be held on this famous Delhi ground. India have played in the previous 33 with 13 wins to six defeats with 14 draws. Sri Lanka have only played here once, in 2005, which was a match they lost.
This is a relatively low scoring ground and there has only been one draw here since 1986 so the chances are we are going to get a result and probably get it long before a fifth day.
Technically this is not a dead rubber but it has the feel of one about it. I think we’re all resigned to India winning the series 2-0 from here on in and I’m not going to bet against that. As it is a dead rubber I don’t want to get too involved but I will follow up a bet from the previous match.
That is the performance of Ravi Ashwin. He covered a line of 150.5pts in the previous match and it has only gone up by a point for this match. Ashwin has 23 wickets in three Test matches here and he has 56 with the bat as well so the dominance India are showing I expect him to pick up either eight wickets or a combination of seven wickets and some runs. He’s covered this line in every match here and I don’t see that changing in this match.
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