The two-day warm match between Indian and Sri Lanka President’s XI began in Colombo today ahead of the three test series against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka President’s XI chose to bat, and was tottering at 165/7 in 50 overs at the time of writing. Once at 138/1 and looking to post a decent score, the President’s XI were rocked by Ravindra Jadeja who spun his way to three wickets and a run out in which he was heavily involved. The Jadeja theatrics have bent the match in the visitor’s favour, and they will be hoping to get them all out before the day ends today.
The practice match also marks the return of opener Rohit Sharma to Test cricket. His last test match was against New Zealand during last year’s home season, and he sat out the home series against England, Bangladesh and Australia. He then underwent a thigh surgery in London and made a comeback during the Indian Premier League this year, where he led his team Mumbai Indians to victory in the tournament. He was also the Golden Bat during the Champions Trophy in England, scoring in excess of 300 runs during the four matches of the tournament. He had been rested during the ODI series against Windies keeping in mind the heavy cricket schedule the team has for this season, but he will look to prove his chops in the warm up match keeping in mind the upcoming Tests.
Also making comebacks are opener KL Rahul and pacer Mohammad Shami. KL Rahul will be eager to make an impression, as India is not short on openers with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan both fit to play again. The slow tracks in Sri Lanka mean that India would probably go with a three man spin attack featuring Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. With his all-around skills on display today at the practice match, he is a shoo-in to the squad.
The first of the three Tests will be played at Galle starting July 26.