India look to quickly get into Test groove

India will look to quickly get into the groove for the longer version of cricket as they take on SL Board XI in a three-day warm-up match from Friday.

updated: July 20, 2008 11:38 IST
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After being busy in one-dayers and Twenty20s for almost three months, India will try to quickly get into the groove for the longer version of cricket as they take on Sri Lankan Board XI in a three-day warm-up match from Friday.

India, who last played a Test against South Africa at home in April, took advantage of a sunny day here and got into some rigorous practice to shift into the five-day mode ahead of the first match, beginning on June 23.

The match will be India's only warm-up game before the three-Test series against the host beginning July 23.

India is likely to field their senior players for the match as many of them have not played for a while as they were not part of the recent Asia cup in Pakistan.

Virender Sehwag, who will in all probability, open with Gautam Gambhir on Friday at the Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC), kept the mediapersons on the alert by his thumping shots despite being separated by the nets and a wired fencing.

Spinner Harbhajan Singh, who returned to the national team after serving a five-ODI ban for slapping S Sreesanth during an Indian Premier League match, was the cynosure of all eyes during the net session.

Pace spearheads Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma also underwent strenuous work outs under the supervision of bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad.

Sri Lankan Board team, however, was taking it easy on a Buddhist function day on Thursday and Jehan Mubarak will lead the side in the three-day fixture.

Their 12-man squad includes four players who are likely to figure in the first Test. They are fast bowlers Dilhara Fernando and Chanaka Welagedera and batsmen Chamara Silva and Upul Tharanga.

The match will be especially crucial for Tharanga, who is on a comeback trail after an ordinary run of form since the start of 2007 which resulted in his exclusion from the national team.

Tharanga Paranavitana and Sachithra Senanayake, the two Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) players, would be the reserves.

Paranavitana-led SSC to the Premier League Championship title, and was the top-scorer in the 2007-08 season with 893 runs at 74.41.

Offspinner Senanayake has taken 65 wickets from 12 first-class matches at 16.69.

India: Anil Kumble (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V V S Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, R P Singh, Munaf Patel, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha and Parthiv Patel.

Sri Lanka Board XI: Jehan Mubarak (captain), Mahela Udawatte, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Chamara Silva, Thilina Kandamby, Kaushal Silva, Chanaka Welagedera, Sujeewa Silva, Dammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Fernando.