All-rounder Hardik Pandya is likely to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has hinted during the pre-match press conference at Galle on July 25. India are all set to start afresh under new coach Ravi Shastri, when they take on Sri Lanka in the three-Test series here. Team India, on about two-month long tour, will play 3 Test matches, 5 One Day Internationals and a T20 International against the Island Nation. First Test match will start on July 26.

“We got a guy like Hardik Pandya, who has a knack of picking wickets. He has a great chance of playing as well. That gives us the balance. The extra batsman gives us more solidarity,” said Kohli.

Heading in to the game, India’s only headache is the loss of openers. After Murli Vijay, Lokesh Rahul was also ruled out of the Galle Test due to viral fever.

In such a case, Abhinav Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan are most likely to open the innings.

When asked if Rohit Sharma could open the innings in absence of both the regular openers, the Indian skipper replied in negative and said: “Rohit has never opened in a Test cricket and we don’t see that kind of experiment happening here because we have specialist openers in the team and they will obviously be starting this game.”

On the other hand, Rangana Herath will be leading the Sri Lankan side in the first Test in the absence of newly-appointed skipper Dinesh Chandimal, down with pneumonia.


India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.

Sri Lanka: Rangana Herath (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Malinda Pushpakumara, Nuwan Pradeep.