Colts Cricket Club Ground is an idyllic, old-fashioned cricket ground, surrounded by trees, in Havelock Town in Colombo 5. A late replacement for the Nondescripts Cricket Club, the Colts Ground was slated to host what is usually a quaint tour game to kick off India’s tour, but the game has now become almost a Test trial for both sides.
India have run into fitness issues, with Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth injured and Harbhajan Singh down with fever. Sri Lanka have chosen a strong Board President’s XI side, with six members from the Test squad looking to impress the team management. Ajantha Mendis, not in the squad for the first Test, has been given an opportunity too.
The Indian XI is now wide open. If Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and M Vijay get picked for the tour game, a really impressive show from any one of them against an attack featuring Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara and Mendis could seal him the No. 6 spot for the Galle Test.
More interesting and desperate is the bowling department. With Zaheer and Sreesanth now out, Abhimanyu Mithun will be backing himself for the Test pace attack along with Ishant Sharma. Mithun, though, will look for a solid performance against the likes of Thilan Samaraweera, Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne to make sure that Sreesanth’s replacement, to be named some time on Monday, doesn’t overtake him in the preference for the Test slot.