It was in 1993 when India last won a Test series in Sri Lanka. India won the series 1-0 under Mohammad Azharuddin's leadership. It's been 17 years since then and despite frequently playing against the island nation, India are still looking for their next series win.
Here are five things India need to do to win the series.
As long as this man is out there in the middle, runs will come in flurry, but can he do it? World's No. 1 Test batsman, Virender Sehwag returns to the side after a break and Indian expectations ride high on him. Sehwag will have to score along with Gautam Gambhir and lay a solid foundation for the middle order. And we know, if Sehwag hits a hundred, he makes it big. Most of his centuries are above 150. But he has the tendency of providing chances to the bowers and that's where he will have to be careful.
Gambhir, one the other hand, is more clinical. The former World No. 1, who is currently placed on the fourth spot, looked a bit out of sorts in the recent past. But it was just the matter of getting his form back. And going by his performance in the warm-up game, he looked in a very good touch.
Also the camaraderie and co-ordination between Sehwag and Gambhir has been one of the strengths of Indian batting and they should use it to their advantage.
At the moment, Sri Lanka have a very strong bowling, but their main strength is spin. Although Muttiah Muralitharan will bid adieu to after the first Test, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath and Surav Randiv are still there to test the Indians.
The Sri Lankan selectors kept Mendis away from the first Test, but given his performance in the practice game against India and retirement of Murali, he is bound to make a comeback in the second Test. Both these bowlers have troubled the Indians on the home soil in the past. Suraj Randiv was impressive in his last outing against India.
Lankan pacers Lasith Malinga, Dammika Prasad, Chanaka Welegedara and Angelo Mathews strengthen the bowling department and the Indian batsmen, specially, the middle order will have to show more resistance.
Most of the Indian players have not played much of cricket since the IPL.
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh all make the middle order look formidable. But being strong on paper is not enough, they will have to back it with performance.
However, knowing these players, they need just sometime in the middle to get their golden touch back.
It's also the right opportunity for Yuvraj to cement his place in the Test side. He had shown good signs in the practice game where he hit form with a solid century, surviving Mendis and Co. But he will have to carry that form throughout the series.
The Indian pace department looks weak in the absence of the frontline fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and S Sreesanth. The most experienced pacer in the side is lanky Ishant Sharma, who looks a distant shadow of his earlier self. He's been struggling for long. Same has been the story of Munaf Patel. However, they will have to lead the pace department.
Rookie pacer Abhimanyu Mithun, who was roped in as Zaheer's replacement, has a good domestic record. Having played just one ODI without any success, Mithun might get a chance to bowl alongside either of his two seniors.
Whatever may be the composition, these young speedsters will have to back themselves, get their basics right and do not be overtly experimental on the Lankan tracks.
Despite the Indian bowling looking a little blunt, MS Dhoni is unlikely to go for four bowlers - 2 pacers and 2 spinners. And with pace department looking a little weak, the spinners will have to lead from the front.
Harbhajan Singh, in particular, will have to play the wicket-taking role. Playing leg-spinner Amit Mishra will not only add variety, but his attacking and wicket-taking ability will also give Indian bowling the much-needed boost.
Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh will also come handy.
Oct 23 2016,13:30 (IST)
Oct 20 2016,09:30 (IST)
Oct 20 2016,13:30 (IST)
Oct 16 2016,13:30 (IST)
Oct 13 2016,17:00 (IST)