PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka, Aug 12 (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat in the third and final test against Sri Lanka on Saturday as the tourists bid to complete a series whitewash over the hosts.
Following wins inside four days in Galle and Colombo, the world’s top-ranked side have an unassailable 2-0 lead and the injury-hit hosts face another stiff task against Kohli’s men in the finale.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav will play his second test for India after the 22-year-old made his debut at home against Australia in March.
He was the only change for the touring side, called up as a replacement for suspended left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
“It’s a no-brainer, we are going to bat first,” Kohli said at the toss. “It (pitch) is similar to the second game but not as dry. We want to take advantage of the best batting conditions.”
The hosts have been hurt by injuries throughout the series and will be missing both spin spearhead Rangana Herath and paceman Nuwan Pradeep. Middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva was dropped after scores of nought and 17 in Colombo.
Sri Lanka brought in left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan, along with pace duo Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando.
“To be honest we would also have batted first. You can’t control the toss but we just want to restrict them to the minimum we can,” Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said.
“As a young team we just want to win a game and keep that spirit going forward.”
India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O‘Brien)