Kusal Mendis is still recovering from a hamstring injury, according to Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, and will miss the first Test against India in Mohali, which begins on Friday (March 4). He also said that fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera would be rested for the first Test, while wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella will rejoin the team. “On the eve of the first Test, Dickwella will be the wicketkeeper, (pacer) Dushmantha Chameera will be rested and ready for the pink-ball Test, and Mendis has been ruled out,” Karunaratne said.

Karunaratne also praised the BCCI’s decision to allow half of the stadium capacity at the PCA Stadium, which will host not only Virat Kohli’s 100th Test but also Sri Lanka’s 300th. “Captaining the country’s 300th Test is a fantastic feeling. It was unexpected. It is a big honour for me to be chosen.” In the virtual media contact, he said, “I would do my best to offer the best outcome for Sri Lanka.”

“I found out it was Virat’s 100th Test. The BCCI made a wise move by allowing a 50% audience,” he remarked. When asked about Sri Lanka’s preparations, Karunaratne stated everything went according to plan when it came to formulating game tactics. “The Sri Lankan players have been working hard in the gym and are in excellent form.” “Hopefully, they’ll be in excellent shape for the two Tests,” he predicted. Young Indian hitters like Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gil are anticipated to take the position of veterans Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, according to Karunaratne. Due to a protracted slump with the bat, Rahane and Pujara have been sidelined for the Tests against Sri Lanka.

“Yeah, we’ve had a few ideas. Some young players are on the field… they are meant to take the position of Rahane and Pujara. We are attempting to carry out the plans”, he concluded. He also said that spinners like Lasith Embuldeniya have done well in recent years and that they may take advantage of Indian conditions, which are generally spin-friendly.