Sri Lanka keen to end Test drought

THE HANS INDIA |   Nov 14,2017 , 11:37 PM IST

Sri Lankan cricketers Suranga Lakmal and Rangana Herath during a training session at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday
Sri Lankan cricketers Suranga Lakmal and Rangana Herath during a training session at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday

Kolkata: Sri Lanka have never won a Test in India and with Virat Kohli's men on a run of near-flawless home form the visitors are unlikely to break their duck in a three-match series starting in Kolkata on Thursday.

In a bumper home season, which started in September 2016, India won 10 of 13 Test matches, with their solitary defeat coming against Steve Smith's Australia.

Even on home ground Sri Lanka have struggled against India, losing 9-0 across all three formats in July and August. Under Kohli, the world's top-ranked Test side have won eight consecutive series dating back to 2015, and Sri Lanka look incapable of stopping them from winning a ninth to tie England and Australia for the record for most consecutive test series wins.

After being hammered at home by India, Sri Lanka then won a two-Test series against Pakistan 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates but subsequently lost all eight limited-overs matches against the same opponents.

Their Test record in India inspires little confidence as they have failed to record a single victory in 17 matches, the last of which was played eight years ago.

Former captain Angelo Mathews and spin spearhead Rangana Herath were the only two current squad members who played a part in that 2009 series and Sri Lanka will lean on them heavily once again.

Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas hopes the players have learned from the recent home series whitewash but wants them to focus on their own strengths instead of the Indian threat.

"The mistake you can make here is come and be infatuated with the Indian side and concentrate too much on them," Pothas said on the team's arrival in India.

"The series against India was a huge learner for us. I also mentioned that if we didn't learn from a very good team then that would have been the biggest error."

While Sri Lanka's bowling attack must find a way to stop the likes of Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, their batsmen will have to contend with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The two sides will next travel to Nagpur and Delhi for the second and third Test matches.

Tags: Sri Lanka
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