The Indian cricket team will look to achieve their first ever clean sweep in a series of three Tests or more away from home when they face Sri Lanka in the final Test of the three-match series at Pallekele from today. | )
09:37 hrs IST: Sri Lanka XI: Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara
09:37 hrs IST: India XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
09:33 hrs IST: India have won the toss.
They will bat. Virat Kohli: “We are gonna bat first. Looks similar to the second match. We just want to get most advantage of batting first.”
09:16 hrs IST: With the toss merely minutes away, here’s an interesting stat about India’s batting rock Cheteshwar Pujara: he has scored 843 runs in Test cricket this year, more than any other player from any team and this is his most prolific run-scoring calendar year in this format (he scored 836 runs in 2016).
09:03 hrs IST: Some positive news for Sri Lanka: The hosts have lost just one of five previous Tests at the venue (W1, D3). Statistically, there is a chance that they could at least avoid a series whitewash.
08:50 hrs IST: We are now just a little over an hour away from the beginning of the first day. Here’s a bit of a stat attack for everyone: India have won 18 of their 40 previous Tests against Sri Lanka (D15, L7) with half of those 18 victories coming by an innings margin, including the last match in this series.
08:25 hrs IST: Good Morning and welcome to HT’s live coverage of third and the final Test between India and Sri Lanka.
There are no such problems for Virat Kohli, who became the only India captain to win two Test series in Sri Lanka as his side smashed first innings of 600 and more in the opening two Tests at Galle and Colombo.
Cheteshwar Pujara leads India’s run-scorers with two centuries — at an average of more than 100 — in the three innings so far.
Indian bowlers have also shone with spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin topping the wicket-takers’ chart with 13 and 11, respectively.
Despite Jadeja being banned for the third Test, the visitors seem to be in a solid position to complete a whitewash.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka have not been helped by a succession of injuries, capped by a back problem which has sidelined their No. 1 bowler, Rangana Herath, for the third Test.
Pacer Nuwan Pradeep could bowl only 17.4 overs in Colombo before pulling out with a hamstring injury.
Worse was to come when they went down 3-2 in an ODI series to bottom-ranked Zimbabwe.