KOLKATA (Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal won the toss and elected to field in the first of three tests against India after rain washed out the morning session at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Wet weather has been forecast for the first three days and rain began falling 15 minutes before the scheduled toss, eventually forcing lunch without a ball bowled.
“There is a lot of moisture in the wicket and a lot of grass cover. We want to take advantage of it in the first two days,” Chandimal said, explaining his decision as Sri Lanka launched their latest bid for a first test victory in India.
Counterpart Virat Kohli admitted he would also have fielded had he won the toss.
“I’d have bowled first as well in these overcast conditions and with a nice grass cover,” the 29-year-old said. “But I don’t think there are so many demons in the pitch.
“The grass is a factor but the surface is hard and dry, and spinners will come into play on the third day. It will be challenging to bat on the first two days.”
India opted for a left-right combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul at the top of the order with opener Murali Vijay missing out.
India: Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandiwal (captain), Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Lahiru Gamage.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien