With both sides weak in their respective fast bowling departments, Indian captain MS Dhoni and Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara have pledged to make the Test series more interesting and enterprising by aiming for results. The three-Test series beginning in Galle on July 18 is expected to be a very high-scoring one due to the imbalance between the batting and bowling strengths for both sides.
India, currently the No.1 team in Tests, have been hit by injuries to opening bowlers Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth, both of whom have been ruled out of the series. Even their key spinner Harbhajan Singh is also struggling for fitness, battling with a bacterial viral infection which ruled him out of the ongoing three-day practice match against a Sri Lanka Board President's XI.
"Most of the teams playing today want a result in a five-day game. That intent is more than enough to make the game interesting. We are hoping we can get results in all the games," said Dhoni. "It's not about targeting just one bowler, we have to think about the whole bowling department of the opposition.
"They've got experienced campaigners who are playing Test cricket for the past ten years or so. Our preparation level is quite good. When you are playing in the subcontinent and playing a side that has got a batting order that is really experienced and knows the conditions really well it always better to have fast bowlers who have played Test cricket under the circumstances and who have got plenty of experience under them and who know how to bowl in those conditions.
"That experience always comes when you play more and more games. It's a bit of concern that we are missing fast bowlers quite regularly in important series. The good thing is we have somehow been able to do well in all the series we have played. Hopefully we'll have a bench strength of a minimum of five to six bowlers who are always available and who are at the top of their form."
Although Sri Lanka are not affected by injuries, their fast bowling line-up for the Galle Test doesn't have much experience with Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga, who is making a comeback to Test cricket after two-and-a-half years, being the most experienced pair with 33 and 28 Test appearances respectively. Another seamer who has performed well in recent home Tests, Nuwan Kulasekara, has been dropped. From the Indian side, Ishant Sharma, with 23 Test caps is the most experienced.
"As a team we are going to play as hard as we can on the field to make sure that we come out on top. India will be doing the same so if that is not going to make it an interesting tug of war I don't what is," said Sangakkara. "We are looking forward to an interesting Test match and a result at the end of five days or even before."
The Galle Test marks the end of world's leading Test and one-day wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan's illustrious career who will be retiring after the match.