India will face Sri Lanka in the the two-match series, starting from Friday at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh.
Both teams have faced off 44 times in the history of Test cricket where the Men-in-Blue have a far superior record with 20 wins compared to the Islanders’ seven victories whereas 17 matches ended as a draw.
While playing at home, India have an ever superior record with 11 wins in 20 outings whereas nine matches ended without a result.
After securing a comprehensive 3-0 win against the same opposition in the 20-over format, India will enter the first Test with high confidence.
The management will be pleased with how the team performed in the shortest format of the game and will be hoping to see the players continue producing similar kinds of performances in red-ball cricket as well.
The match will be a special one for former captain Virat Kohli as it will be the 100th Test for India and he will be hoping to make it memorable for himself and for the team.
In the batting department, the home team will be relying on the likes of captain Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, young Shreyas Iyer and wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant to score the bulk of the runs and put the opposition under pressure.
In the bowling department, the onus will be on the likes of pacer Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav along with the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja to dismantle the visitors’ batting lineup by claiming timely breakthroughs.
After a thumping series sweep in the T20Is, Sri Lanka will enter the upcoming Test match in low confidence.
The management will be disappointed with the overall performance of the team who never looked like competing with the home side in any of the fixtures.
The coaching staff will be hoping to see the players learn from their mistakes committed in the T20 series and produce a much better display in the longest format of the game.
The return of veteran campaigners like Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne is likely to boost the morale of the team.
In the batting department, the visitors will be relying on the likes of captain Dimuth Karunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Mathews, Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal to score the bulk of the runs and give their bowlers something to bowl with.
On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara along with the spin duo of Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama to restrict the home team to a manageable total.
On paper at least, both teams look competitive compared to how it was in the T20Is where India looked far stronger.
However, after a rather one-sided affair in the 20-over format, it is hard to predict anything but an outright win of the home team in the upcoming Test series s well.
Therefore, the prediction is for the home team to secure a clean sweep in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.