Colombo: Virat Kohli´s buoyant India will chase their first series win in Sri Lanka in 22 years when the third and decisive final Test starts in Colombo on Friday.
The tourists thrashed the hosts by 278 runs in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Monday to level the series after Sri Lanka had won the opening match in Galle by 63 runs.
But before they step on the field at the Sinhalese sports club, both camps will attempt to sort out injury and personnel issues to find the right combination for the decider.
India, who have not won a Test series on the island since 1993, will be without the injured trio of regular openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, plus wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Sri Lanka will begin a new era following the retirement of batting great Kumar Sangakkara from international cricket after the second Test looking to fill a major void in the top order.
With Mahela Jayawardene quitting Test cricket last year, Sri Lanka find themselves short of experience.
Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has played 62 Tests and skipper Angelo Mathews 51, but no others in the squad have more than 22 Test caps.
Sangakkara´s decision not to play all three Tests in a series as he wound down his career had already cost Sri Lanka two months ago. He elected to miss the decider against Pakistan in Pallekele in June, a game the hosts lost by seven wickets.
Mathews said he regretted not giving Sangakkara a winning farewell, but vowed to fight back and win the series for him.
Indian keeper Ojha looks forward to decider against Sri Lanka
Reuters: Indian wicket-keeper Naman Ojha, who is likely to make a debut in the decisive third test match against Sri Lanka, said on Wednesday (August 26) he was looking forward to the match.
Ojha was called into the squad after wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha suffered a hamstring injury in the second test match and was ruled out of the three-match series in Colombo.
Ojha, who can also bat, said he was working very hard for the game.
“There is a little bit of pressure, yes, because I have got this chance after a very long time. But I am not thinking about it. I have waited very long and I am just looking to enjoy my game and enjoy this moment,” he told a news conference in Colombo.
India plays the decider on Friday (August 28) in Colombo.
The 32-year-old Ojha has played an ODI and two T20 internationals for India.
Meanwhile, another player who received the call to be part of the team, Karun Nair, said it was like a dream come true for him.
“It’s a dream come true for me, like any Indian cricketer it is a dream to play for your country. So I was really excited to be part of this team. And I am looking forward to every opportunity that I get,” said Nair (23), who is just two years into first-class cricket.
Ojha and Nair were both part of the India ‘A’ team recently when they received call-ups to the national team.
Sri Lanka won the opener. India leveled the series by winning the second test against the hosts by a huge 278-run victory.