Kuldeep Yadav roped in as India opt to bat : Pallekele Test

India's captain Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after winning the second Test match against Sri Lanka

India are 239 for the loss of three wickets at tea.

Virat Kohli during a press meet ahead of the third India-Sri Lanka Test in Kandy yesterday. They have won the first two Tests by a convincing margin and would certainly like to keep the momentum going when the action resumes again.

The home bowling line-up has failed to curb the Indian batting. But it is Cheteshwar Pujara, India's "best Test batsman", who has been a thorn in Sri Lanka's flesh with two hundreds in two Tests.

After winning the toss for the third consecutive time, India opted to bat and openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan proved their captain made the right call with an unbeaten 134-run stand in the morning session. Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane are already waiting in the wings for that middle-order spot, and Raina's name is now being thrown into the mix too. He will replace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who was suspended for the final Test of the series after having accumulated six demerit points inside a 24-month period. With a number of players in splendid touch, India has turned themselves into a brute Test force. The ICC said that during Sri Lanka's second innings, one of Jadeja's throw was "in unsafe manner".

In the light of Jadeja's suspension, left-arm spinner Axar Patel was added to the Indian squad.

From one left-arm spinner to another, Kuldeep Yadav comes into the India XI, or at least we expect him to and brings an air of mystery to India's attack.

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The 22-year-old Uttar Pradesh talent was impressive in his only Test till date - against Australia in March in Dharamsala, picking up four wickets. The Sri Lankan opener has been a standout performer for the hosts in the first two Tests.

The National Selectors also made a decision to leave out top order batsman Danushka Gunathilaka.

High on the agenda will be what to do with Dhoni (36) and Yuvraj (35) as India look ahead to the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom, especially given selectors are seemingly flush with options in terms of top- and middle-order batsmen.

The bowling line-up is too thin on experience sans Herath, a veteran of 83 Tests.

The hosts did not use Malinda Pushpakumara's left-arm orthodox before lunch, but tried Lakshan Sandakan's left-arm wristspin for a couple of overs.

This is not quite the same as Napier 2008-09, when India chose to reach the city of the Test on the afternoon before the match, but you suspect India's preparation - rain or no rain - would have been different had Sri Lanka put up a stiffer fight in the series.

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