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Post  Admin on Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:53 am

India will be wary of Colombo
India will play the first of their three Test matches in Colombo at the SSC, where Sri Lanka have ruled the roost over 30 Tests.

The home team has won 15 out of the 30 matches that have been played at one of the oldest venues in the emerald isles.

While India have cut a rather average figure at the SSC in their five appearances. They have won one, lost one and drawn three. However, what could be heartening for Anil Kumble's men this time is that two of his top batsmen have splendid records at the venue.

Sachin Tendulkar has scored 456 runs at an average of 114 and in the process rattling three tons in three Tests. Another Indian legend Sourav Ganguly has not done too badly either. His 357 runs at the SSC have come in three Tests at an average of 59.50.

Tendulkar (139) and Ganguly (147) had in fact featured in a classy 150 run partnership for the fifth wicket way back in 1997. Eleven years down the line, the two mates still look good to even better their feat at a venue which has given them so much of joy.

India's batsmen overall have not fared too badly at the SSC. Over the years, their highest total at the SSC was the 518 for sevem mustered in 1998-99 when Sadagoppan Ramesh and Rahul Dravid garnered 232 runs for the second wicket.

Their worst came in 1985-86 when they were skittled out for 218 more than two decades back in 1985.

It is the bowling which has remained a worry for the Indians at the SSC. Kumble has been the pick of the bowlers at the SSC, snaring 16 wickets from three matches at an average of 32.08. In fact, he is the only Indian bowler who has claimed a five for and that too way back in the 1993-94 series, when he bagged five for 98.

But this looks set to change as India have already heralded into a new dawn with a quality seam attack and a spinning maze that has only shaped up to be more lethal, if nothing else. Kumble in the company of the dangerous Harbhajan Singh would make the Lankan batsmen dance to their tune. Then there is the luxury of playing young Pragyan Ojha as the third spinner if need be.

The pace battery in the hands of the seasoned Zaheer Khan, the talented Ishant Sharma, the improved Munaf Patel and the letahl RP Singh looks like a wining combination.

The challenge for the Indian team would be to do better than what their mates had done earlier.

Wicketkeepers Dinesh Kathik and Parthiv Patel know they have their task cut out. For Nayan Mongia has been the most successfull Indian keeper at the SSC with five dismissals (four catches and one stumping) in the 1997 Test.

India were walloped by an innings and 77 runs the last time they played at th SSC in 1998. 10 years down history, it is time to set the records straight.

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