All-rounder Pandya likely to make Test debut, hints Kohli

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Galle, July 25 (IANS) Ahead of the three-match cricket Test series opener against Sri Lanka, India captain Virat Kohli has hinted that all-rounder Hardik Pandya may make his debut here on Wednesday.

“We got great balance in the side. We got a guy like Hardik Pandya who is a wicket-taking bowler. Every game he plays, on any surface, he has a knack of picking up wickets. He has a great chance of playing,” Kohli told reporters on the match-eve on Tuesday.

The Vadodara all-rounder has made 17 appearances in One-Day International (ODI) scoring 289 runs at an average of 41.29 and has taken 19 wickets in the 50-over format.

The 23-year-old has played 19 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) scoring 100 runs and picked up 15 wickets.

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Kolhi also recalled India’s previous Test encounter with the hosts here and claimed that his side understands the threat from the World No.2 Test bowler Rangana Herath.

In 2015, the veteran left-arm spinner picked up 6-48 in the second innings to help his side bundle out India for 112 runs while chasing a 175-run target which enabled Sri Lanka win the match by 63 runs.

India were victorious in their last Test series held in 2015 against Sri Lanka, registering a 2-1 win over the hosts.

“He’s a quality bowler. Last time he really dented us in that small chase,” Kohli said.

“It was actually a great eye-opener for us. We worked on those things in the next two games and were able to win the series. He played both the games and the ball was still doing a bit but our batsmen had counter-plans in place,” he added.

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“We understand what he brings to the table and we understand what needs to be done.”

The Indian skipper said he was confident that every player understood their responsibility and will deliver in the series.

“I’m sure everyone is taking personal responsibility to plan their innings… We’ve come a long way from that tour. We believe our batsmen will deliver the goods when it’s required,” he said.



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