This test match will give opportunity to the supporter around the world to see one of the great bowling legends in action for the last time in the longest version of the game. At Galle, the crowd will be itching to see their favourite Murali in action and hope that he achieves the target of his dream 800 test wickets in test cricket.
On the other hand, Indians will eye a win to start their series on brighter note after a disastrous performance in the three day tour game where they have been bamboozled once again by mysterious spinner Ajantha Mendis. They will try to break the jinx of not winning a test series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka since a 1-0 success by Mohammad Azharuddin's team in 1993.
Having said that, it will be mountain to climb for the Indians since their bowling attack looks weaker and they have once again depend on their batsmen to put huge runs on the board to create pressure on the Sri Lankan batsmen.
India lost 2-1 the last time they played in Sri Lanka, in August 2008, but gained revenge with a 2-0 victory at home a year later that propelled Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men to the top of the official Test rankings.
This series will also provide opportunity for both sides to improve their ICC test ranking. India who is sitting pretty well at number one position try to win the series and make their position more stringer, on the other hand Sri Lanka, currently fourth in the Test rankings behind India, Australia and South Africa, are hoping to showcase their prowess in home conditions, where they have proved almost invincible.
All in all it will be another fascinating series to watch between these two countries.
Watch out for
Virendra Sehwag: Last time when he played here he alone scored a blazing double hundred to guide his team to remarkable victory over the Lankan’s and this time too Dhoni expect similar type of innings from this man. However it will be interesting to see whether he plays big or go out quickly.
M.Muralitharan: He is one of the greats and he will be missed very much after the completion of the first test match, however his first target would be achieve the magical number 800 which no one in world cricket able to done that till now. M.S.Dhoni already announced that he has to earn his wickets, Indians are not going to gift there wicket by considering this is his last match.
Pitch & Condition
The Pitch at Galle International Stadium, will provide ample support for the seam bowlers in first three days of play, however as game progress to fourth and fifth day spinners have important role to play. If we go by Weather Report, there is chance of rain on each days of play.
The headache for the Indians would be their bowling department and they have very few to select from. However by considering the Munaf Patel experience he would be first choice for M.S.Dhoni alongwith Ishant Sharma. P.Ojha and Harbhajan Singh will lead the spin attack.
Sri Lanka on the other hand would likely to go with two combos- two spinners and two pace bowlers.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 10:00 AM India Time)
India Squad: Gautham Gambhir, Virendra Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni (Captain/WK), Yuvraj Singh, V.V.S Laxman, H.Singh, P.Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel.
Sri Lanka Squad: Tharanga Paranavitana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (Captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (WK), Rangana Herath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Chanaka Welegedara.
Muralitharan needs 8 more wickets to become first bowler to achieve the magical figure of 800 wickets.
Muralitharan has dimissed Sachin Tendulkar 7 times and Rahul Dravid 6 times in his test career.
India has not won a single series in Sri Lanka in last seventeen years.