Kolkata: Chasing an elusive dream of winning their first cricket Test in India, Sri Lanka will begin their gruelling tour with a two-day tour fixture against a depleted Board President’s XI here on Saturday. Sri Lanka who will play their first Test in India since 2009-10 have a forgettable record in the country as they are yet to win from 16 appearances and have suffered 10 defeats in their head-to-head record spanning 1982-2017.
It’s an improbable task for skipper Dinesh Chandimal who will play his maiden Test in India and would bank upon the experience of Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath the only two members who were part of their side which suffered 0-2 defeat seven years back. Having suffered a 0-9 humiliation at home across three formats, the Islanders are here in a gap of two months but with a confidence-boosting surprise 2-0 Test series win over Pakistan.
The Lankans will play three Tests and as many ODIs and T20Is in the long series concluding in Mumbai on December 24. Chandimal and Co. will hope to start well against a third-string Board’s side led by Sanju Samson. The match is scheduled at the Jadavpur University second campus ground, the deck of which primarily supports seam bowling.
In such a scenario, it will hardly give the Islanders a perfect build up. For Sri Lanka the spotlight will be on former captain and ace all-rounder Mathews who will make a return after missing the Pakistan series. Having recovered from a calf muscle injury, Mathews was in full flow in their first practice here as he will look to get into rhythm ahead of the first Test at Eden Gardens from November 16-20.