Berliner Tageszeitung - India pursue Sri Lanka sweep in pink ball second Test

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India pursue Sri Lanka sweep in pink ball second Test




India pursue Sri Lanka sweep in pink ball second Test
India pursue Sri Lanka sweep in pink ball second Test / Foto: © AFP

India will be strong favourites to stay unbeaten in pink-ball Tests at home as new captain Rohit Sharma eyes a clean sweep of Sri Lanka in the second Test starting Saturday.

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The hosts thrashed Sri Lanka inside three days in Mohali to lead the two-match series 1-0 and the visitors need to quickly get their act together under the lights in Bangalore.

The world's top-ranked all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja hit an unbeaten 175 and took nine wickets to stand out in Rohit's first Test since replacing Virat Kohli as captain in all formats earlier this year.

"Rohit, we all know how tactically strong he is and how good he is. But I saw a lot of human elements in the way he led the side," off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said this week.

"He was looking out for anyone in the team, how everyone would feel, how everyone's confidence is important for the engine room to function."

Rohit said the hosts put up a "near-perfect" performance.

India were the last of the big Test teams to play a five-day game under lights, seeing off Bangladesh in 2019 in just over two days in Kolkata.

But at the Adelaide Oval in December 2020 Australia skittled the Kohli-led side for 36, India's lowest Test total.

The team got back to winning ways in a floodlit Test when they thrashed England in two days at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad in February last year

- 'Not fighting back' -

India will be expected to beat Sri Lanka again but Ashwin warned that day-night Tests can be unpredictable.

"It's very hard to prepare for a pink-ball Test because you don't know what to expect," he told the website of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

"We have played three pink-ball Tests so far and each of them have taught us something different.

"The light's also going to matter... (there are a) lot of variables going into the game, but (we) just take the confidence from the previous game. Looking forward to the challenge and hopefully the spinners will have a say."

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who starred in the win over England with his 11 wickets, could make the XI at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium after being added to the team in place of Kuldeep Yadav.

Sri Lanka have won two and lost one day-night Test in their three outings.

The tourists, led by Dimuth Karunaratne, failed miserably with the bat in response to India's 574-8 declared in the first Test and were bowled out for 174 and 178 in under four sessions.

"If the opposition falls away or gives you an opportunity to play, you are playing. But if the opposition pushes you back, you are not fighting back," Sri Lanka's cricketer-turned-commentator Russel Arnold told cricket.com.

"That's what I see in Sri Lanka cricket and that comes down to the approach."

The island nation will be likely missing pace bowler Lahiru Kumara after he injured his hamstring on day one of the Mohali Test and could not take to the field apart from batting at number 11.

L. Brown--BTZ