Kolkata: Sri Lanka have won the toss and asked India to bat first in the opening Test of the three-match series here at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
This is only the second time since 1969 that a side winning the toss at Eden Gardens has elected to bowl.
Following the toss, Indian skipper Virat Kohli said that his side too would have opted to bowl first had they won the toss, adding that they are now looking forward to the challenge as a batting unit.
“Don’t think it has so many demons in it. The grass is a factor, but the surface is hard and dry and spinners will come into play in the third day. It will be challenging to bat on the first two days,” Kohli added.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, on the other hand, said, “Lot of moisture, lots of grass, we would like to take the advantage today and tomorrow,”
As far as Playing XI is concerned, India have decided to go without Murali Vijay. Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul will open the batting.
Meanwhile, the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja is back in the squad.
Lanka, on the other hand, made three changes from their last tour to UAE. Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep are left out.
Heading into the series, the Virat Kohli-led side are favourites and would aim to record their 9th straight Test series win.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will look to forget the annihilation suffered at home and chase what has been an improbable dream of winning their first Test on Indian soil.
While Kohli’s team will use this series against Lanka to prepare for the long series in South Africa next year, Lankans, whose current form has been dismal to say the least, will start as the underdogs.
The hosts had inflicted on the Dinesh Chandimal-led Sri Lanka, a humiliating 9-0 whitewash across three formats even as they rebounded strongly to clinch a surprising 2-0 win over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The two squads are as follows:
India Playing XI: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.
Sri Lanka Playing XI: Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandiwal (captain), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka , Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Lahiru Gamage.