Cricket: India, Sri Lanka set for thrilling finale


Virat Kohli’s buoyant India will chase their first series win in Sri Lanka in 22 years when the third and decisive final Test starts in Colombo on Friday.

The tourists thrashed the hosts by 278 runs in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Monday to level the series after Sri Lanka had won the opening match in Galle by 63 runs.

But before they step on the field at the Sinhalese sports club, both camps will attempt to sort out injury and personnel issues to find the right combination for the decider.

India, who have not won a Test series on the island since 1993, will be without the injured trio of regular openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, plus wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Sri Lanka will begin a new era following the retirement of batting great Kumar Sangakkara from international cricket after the second Test looking to fill a major void in the top order.

With Mahela Jayawardene quitting Test cricket last year, Sri Lanka find themselves short of experience.

Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has played 62 Tests and skipper Angelo Mathews 51, but no others in the squad have more than 22 Test caps.

Sangakkara’s decision not to play all three Tests in a series as he wound down his career had already cost Sri Lanka two months ago. He elected to miss the decider against Pakistan in Pallekele in June, a game the hosts lost by seven wickets.

Mathews said he regretted not giving Sangakkara a winning farewell, but vowed to fight back and win the series for him.