Faced with the uphill task of scoring over a near-perfect India in their own lair, a young Sri Lanka side will look to sharpen their skills ahead of the opening Test here by playing a two-day warm-up tie against the Board President’s XI at the Jadavpur University 2nd campus ground in Kolkata from Saturday.
Despite coming on the back of a surprise 2-0 Test series victory over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Dinesh Chandimal-led side will have to pull off a major heist if they want to get positives from the three-Test engagement on Indian soil.
Not long ago in August, Sri Lanka were blanked 0-9 across all-formats at home by a dominant India side.
From the Pakistan series, the visitors will miss the services of highly-rated top-order batsman Kusal Mendis, pacer Nuwan Pradeep and opener Kaushal Silva.
Pradeep is expected to be brought back for the limited overs clashes.
All eyes will be on all-rounder Angelo Mathews, who is making a comeback to the Test team after being in and out of the side.
Mathews has been sweating it out for long hours at the nets. Even though the former skipper won’t be bowling, his contribution with the bat will be the key for the visitors.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is the only other player to have featured in India before, in 2009.
Coming to the Board President’s XI, promising wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson — slated to lead the side in the absence of injured Naman Ojha — will look to impress in white flannels after giving a good account of himself in the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year.
With the Ranji Trophy in full swing, this is a third-string team with players of four states — Hyderabad, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab — not involved in this round of domestic matches, taking part.
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three Test matches, three ODIs and three T20 Internationals over the next one-and-a-half-months in India. The first rubber starts November 16 at the Eden Gardens.
Board President’s XI: Sanju Samson (captain), Abhishek Gupta, Akash Bhandari, Avesh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Jiwanjot Singh, Ravi Kiran, Rohan Prem, B. Sandeep, Tanmay Agarwal, Sandeep Warrier, Anmolpreet Singh.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella (wicket-keeper), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka and Roshen Silva.