NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – India’s tone about Sri Lanka in the ongoing series has been quite dismissive but touring captain Dinesh Chandimal chose to overlook it yesterday on the eve of the third and final test at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
As the captain of the world’s top-ranked test side, Virat Kohli has termed the ongoing series as preparation for the team’s more challenging tour of South Africa later this month.
Opening batsman Murali Vijay repeated the line in the pre-match news conference as India, who are 1-0 up in the series, chase a record-equalling ninth consecutive test series triumph. “That’s up to them,” Chandimal said when asked if he found the attitude of the Indian camp disrespectful. “They are thinking about the next series but we, as a team, are thinking about this series. We’re thinking about each and every game, how we can win, how we can be good as a team and stuff.
“We can’t control (what India say). As a team we need to control what we can control. That’s why we are looking at this series.” Sri Lanka escaped to a draw in the rain-hit series opener in Kolkata but suffered their worst test defeat — by an innings and 239 runs — in Nagpur. The 28-year-old lamented his misfiring top order but was optimistic they would give a better account of themselves in the final test.
“As a batting unit, we need to do well, especially in the first innings we need to put big total on the board. We need to score 350 to stay in the game,” Chandimal said. “We never won a test game here and still I hope we can win this game.”
The tourists will be without spin spearhead Rangana Herath who has been ruled out of the match with a back injury.
In contrast, India have been juggling with a problem of plenty at the top order where Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay have been vying with each other to partner fellow opener Lokesh Rahul.
Asked if the constant rivalry has led to an awkward relation in the dressing room, Vijay said:
“Not really, we three are very good friends off the field and it makes it much easier. (But) Definitely it unsettles the opener, who is playing regularly.”
Transparency of emotion ensures there was no bad blood between him and Dhawan, Vijay said.
“(We try to) make it easier, lighter and more fun — talking about it openly and having a good chat over it rather than keeping it with yourself and making that person feel it,” said the right-hander.
“Whatever I feel or Shikhar feels, we put it out in the open… we clear that thing and we move forward.”