Kotla Test: Sri Lanka's mountain to climb

A look at the key stats ahead of the third Test between India and Sri Lanka.

Ruthless: Virat Kohli at a training session at the Kotla. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

The series stands at 1-0 and Sri Lanka, because of its current standing as a team, its performance and the manner of loss in Nagpur, is not given much of a chance of denying India its seventh straight Test series victory on home soil. Alastair Cook’s England was the last team to beat India in India (in 2012) and its 2-1 series win was special for two reasons: it had not beaten India in its own den since 1984 and secondly, it beat M. S. Dhoni’s team on turning pitches that were expected to favour the home team more.

A win for Dinesh Chandimal & Co. will also be a massive achievement, given that no Sri Lanka team has so far beaten India in India in a Test match. In 19 Tests so far, it has lost eleven and drawn eight. Sadly, the loss in Nagpur was Sri Lanka’s 100th Test defeat, which was by an innings and 239 runs.

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The odds are stacked against Sri Lanka, knowing that India hasn’t lost a Test match at the Ferozeshah Kotla since 1987. Sri Lanka does not seem to have the necessary ammunition to trouble the No. 1-ranked Test team. Seventy-two hours before the start of the Delhi Test, veteran spinner Rangana Herath was ruled out due to a sore back and, though he had taken just one wicket in the first two Tests, his absence will be felt.

At the Kotla, Sri Lanka has lost the only Test it has played till date. In this Test match in 2005, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 35th Test century, going past Sunil Gavaskar’s 34.

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Two individuals, Dilruwan Perera and Virat Kohli, are on the verge of reaching milestones. Sri Lanka off-spinner Perera is on 99 wickets in 24 Test matches so far and Indian captain Kohli is 25 runs short of reaching 5000 Test runs.

As mentioned above, Sri Lanka is up against the odds. The approach and attitude of Chandimal and his players will be crucial. If they get these right, they will have a better chance of avoiding a defeat of the scale of Nagpur.

  • In 43 Tests between India and Sri Lanka, the former has 20 and lost seven, while 16 other have been drawn; since its defeat in Galle in 2015, the Indian team has won six of the seven Tests (one draw)
  • Virat Kohli and Chandimal have captained their teams in 31 and seven Tests, respectively. While the Indian captain has won 20 and lost only three, his Sri Lankan counterpart has managed three wins and three defeats.
  • At the Kotla, India has played 33 Tests till date, winning 13, losing six and drawing 14; Sri Lanka, as mentioned above, has lost the only Test played here.
  • In 2017, Cheteshwar Pujara has scored the most runs for batsmen in the two teams (1068 in 16 innings); Dimuth Karunaratne is the next-best, with 1018 runs in 24 innings.
  • Among bowlers, R. Ashwin and Herath have taken 52 wickets apiece.

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