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Rain threat to Sri Lanka - Board President's XI match

November 10, 2009 19:55 IST

Sri Lanka, eyeing its first Test victory in India, will be hoping to get its combination right when they take on the Board President's XI in a three-day practice match in Mumbai on Wednesday, ahead of the three-Test series against India.

However, unseasonal rain threatens to play spoilsport to the tourists' plans, as the match is the lone practice outing before the first Test begins in Ahmedabad on November 16.

The practice match also provides Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara an opportunity to test his relatively inexperienced side, which boasts of only five players -- the captain himself, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera --- having played in the country before.

The game is also the only opportunity for Sangakkara to have a look at all the players before he shortlists the first 12 for the opening Test.

Sri Lanka's batting order looks settled with the likes of Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Samarweera and Dilshan up its rank. It will be further bolstered by the presence of middle-order batsman Thilina Kandamby, who is likely to make his debut in Ahmedabad, and all-rounder Angelo Mathews.

It is, however, his bowling line-up that Sangakkara would like to decide upon in the practice game.

The visitors are hoping to figure out their spin department, which has three quality tweakers in Muralitharan, mystery man Ajantha Mendis and Ragana Herath.

While Muralitharan is certain, it will be a toss up between the Mendis, who demolished the famed Indian batting line-up in Sri Lanka, and Herath, who outperformed both Murali and Mendis in the series against Pakistan and New Zealand.

The Rohit Sharma-led Board President's XI, on the other hand, has little to play for, as the Indian team for the first two Tests was announced on Tuesday.

However, the fringe players know well enough that a good performance in the match will help their cause for a berth in the ODI team for the matches against the Lankans.

While skipper Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Abhinav Mukund, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Abhishek Nayar and Wriddhiman Saha hold the key with the bat, Ojha, Piyush Chawla, Pradeep Sangwan, and Ashok Dinda will spearhead the bowling.

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