On Monday Srilanka has to start the second test with the absence of evergreen bowler, the “King of spin” Muralidharan, a new start for a new test match. Gautam Gambhir will play or not will be decided on Monday itself confirmed by Dhoni.
Sri Lanka will begin a new phase in Test cricket without the player who decisively turned its fortune as a Test playing nation. They are also without an injured Lasith Malinga, who, with Muttiah Muralidharan, shared 15 wickets in the ten-wicket victory in Galle; that 1-0 lead, despite a day lost to rain, becomes all the more significant in the context of the series with both teams fielding weakened bowling line-ups in Colombo.
Ajantha Mendis had proved a menace to India’s batsmen on their previous Test tour to Sri Lanka, but has since been handled with relative ease. Though his six-for in the tour game is some encouragement, India’s batsmen have perhaps the best opportunity in the series to fight back. Their bowlers, however, face a bigger challenge. It was India’s depleted seam attack that had raised the most concerns ahead of the series, but more dispiriting, in addition to the famed batting, was the wicket less and unthreatening performance of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha on a turning track in Galle.
Sri Lanka haven’t lost a Test at the SSC in six years and in conditions traditionally favorable to the batting side, India’s defense of the No.1 ranking, which they achieved by beating the same team last year, will face a stiff test. If Sri Lanka win or draw the game, they remain in contention to displace India, depending on what transpires in the third Test. In the unlikely event of an Indian surprise, the visitors will retain their position, an achievement that will stand out given the limitations they began the tour with.