An up and down Test series between Sri Lanka and the touring Indian side, currently poised at one each, reaches its climax at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo when the third and final fixture starts on Friday.
From the high of having levelled the series 1-1 with their 278 run win at the P Sara Oval, the tourists now find that they will be without two of the winning XI from the second Test.
Both Wriddhiman Saha and M Vijay are suffering with hamstring injuries which will ensure their absence from the decider, with the selectors calling up wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha to replace Saha, and Karun Nair to fill in for Vijay.
Saha was forced by his hamstring injury to retire while batting on the fourth day at the P Sara Oval. He did return to the crease when India lost their seventh wicket, and was still not out, when the skipper Virat Kohli declared the innings closed.
He didn’t however, keep wicket during the Sri Lankan run chase, the gloves being worn by KL Rahul, who did well as stand in, taking a catch and not conceding a bye.
Vijay had already missed the first Test, due to a hamstring “niggle”, but return for the vital second Test, where he scored a 4-ball duck in the first innings. However, he batted for over three hours in his second knock, making 82.
His replacement Nair, has yet to make his international debut, but comes into the Test on the back of a century for India A against South Africa A, and earlier in the season he showed his liking for the big occasion by posting a triple century in the Ranji Trophy final.
Madhya Pradesh’s Ojha was previously called up as a replacement for Saha during the 2014 tour to India. However, with MS Dhoni in the squad, he didn’t get a game. He has both a double and two other centuries to his name for India A against Australia A.