Second Test preview: Sri Lanka v India


There's only one story line anyone cares about ahead of the second Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, and that is the long-dreaded retirement of premier batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

Sangakkara wanted to retire after the World Cup, but was persuaded to stay on for four more Tests, and this is the fourth of those. There will be no more of his sumptuous strokeplay after that, unless you're able to watch him play at Surrey.

Sanga's exit, his Test average nearing 58, will leave a gaping hole in Sri Lanka's line up, just like Mahela Jayawardene's did not long ago. Sri Lanka's players are determined to send him off with a win at the P. Sara Oval though, and secure the series.

The hosts lead one-nil after a stupendous comeback in Galle last week. From trailing the Indians for much of the match, a Dinesh Chandimal century put them back in it, but only just, before Rangana Herath's seven-for stunned the visitors.

Sri Lanka have an injury concern in fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep, who is set to miss the match due to injury. This leaves Dhammika Prasad as the main pace threat, though spinners Tharindu Kaushal and Herath will likely be more important.

India, meanwhile, ave lost the services of opener Shikhar Dhawan, which is a huge blow as he's one of the few in the side in good form right now. He was ruled out of the series with a hand injury picked up in Galle.

All-rounder Stuart Binny has been added to the squad, and he might play now, given he was called in before Dhawan's injury. But again, it's be spinners Ravi Ashwin and Amit Mishra, and Harbhajan Singh if he plays, that will be expected to do the job.

Key Men

For Sri Lanka, this is obvious. Kumar Sangakkara will want to be one of those rare players that goes out with a century in the bag in their final Test. He's due one, his last Test ton was that double against New Zealand in January.

India will look to skipper Virat Kohli for the runs in Dhawan's absence. He scored a century in Galle, finding his form properly again, and insists he will keep up the aggressive mindset they've adopted as a team.

Last Five Head-To-Head Results

2015 First Test: Sri Lanka won by 63 runs in Galle
2010 Third Test: India won by five wickets in Colombo
2010 Second Test: Match drawn in Colombo
2010 First Test: Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets in Galle
2009 Third Test: India won by an innings and 24 runs in Mumbai


India: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Jehan Mubarak, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera (subject to fitness).

Dates: 20-24 August
Morning session: 10:00-12:00 (04:30-06:30 GMT)
Afternoon session: 12:40-14:40 (07:10-09:10 GMT)
Evening session: 15:00-17:00 (09:30-11:30 GMT)

On-field umpires: Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker
Third umpire: Ruchira Palliyaguruge
Match referee: Andy Pycroft