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Praveen to play in second Test against India

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Praveen Jayawickrama

Sri Lanka is likely to include promising leg spinner Praveen Jayawickrama for the second Test against India which is scheduled to be played from March 12-16 at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru. The inclusion of Jayawickrama will strengthen the spin department for this day-night Test match with already Lasith Embuldeniya in the team. The 25-year-old Embuldeniya had a heavy workload at the first Test match in Mohali where he bowled 46 overs giving away 188 runs with taking two wickets which included former skipper Virat Kholi. Sri Lanka named young off-spinner Ashain Daniel for the Test squad but due to visa issues he is still in Sri Lanka and the only option is Jayawickrma as a replacement for the second game. The 23-year-old Jayawickrma has played only three Test matches but he started with a match bag of 11 wickets against Bangladesh at Pallekele. After only three Test matches he has taken 18 wickets which included two five-wicket hauls.

Sri Lanka suffered a heavy defeat at the first Test in Mohali and the match finished with two days to spare which was never expected by the Sri Lanka team. The match against India in Mohali proved to be one-sided as the visitors were hammered by an innings and 222 runs to concede a 0-1 lead in the two-match series. Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was shocked by the nature of defeat and pulled up his batters over the outcome. Sri Lankan team put up little resistance against the Indian bowling attack and were bowled out twice in 125 overs for 174 and 178 after India put up a mammoth total of 574 for 8 declared in their first innings.

Sri Lanka had a strong batting lineup comprising skipper Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, and Niroshan Dickwella but Nissanaka and Dickwella were the only two batters who made half-centuries in this game. However, two experienced spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin dominated the game by capturing 15 wickets among them out of 20 wickets in this game. Ashwin took 2 for 49 and 4 for 47 in both innings while Jadeja the leg spinner who played the anchor role in this game scored a superb knock of 175 and captured 5 for 41 and 4 for 46 to earn the ‘Player of the Match’ award. India went with two pacemen and three spinners while Sri Lanka decided to play three pacemen and one key spinner with part-time off-spinners.

However, skipper Karunaratne said, “We did well for the first two sessions but could not execute when the ball got old and those are things we need to work on.”

In addition, Sri Lanka had to face extra pressure with their seamer Lahiru Kumara who bowled only ten overs and returned to the pavilion with a hamstring injury. Kumara was already ruled out for the second Test and the team wanted to replace the bowler for the second Test. The only option is to play Dushmantha Chameera. But Chameera, who was expected to feature in the second Test is suffering from ankle pain and unfortunately for the Sri Lanka side, the medical experts have advised Chameera to rest from the longer format to focus on the T-20 World Cup. Chamika Karunararne is next in line for the Test team. However, Sri Lanka has three more days for the training before the second Test, and playing eleven will be finalised after training sessions. The Sri Lanka team is expected to reach Bangalore today and resume their training. Meanwhile, India Cricket Board already said Left-arm spinner Axar Patel has been named in the India squad for the second Test against Sri Lanka. The left-arm orthodox spinner has replaced the left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav who has been released from the squad. Axar is likely to come in straight into the XI in Jayant’ Yadav’s place and India once again will play with three spinners Ashwin, Jadeja, and Patel.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 – 01:00

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