Kumble-led Indian team arrives in Colombo

July 15th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, July 15 (IANS) The Indian cricket team led by Anil Kumble arrived here Tuesday to play a three-Test and five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka from July 23. Top Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials received Kumble’s men upon their arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, about 30 km north of Colombo. They were later escorted to a five-star hotel here.

The Indians will open their tour with a three-day practice match against the Sri Lanka Board XI from Friday at the NCC sports club ground.

The first Test will be played at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) international stadium here from July 23.

The Test series will be followed by a five-match one-dfay international (ODI) series starting Aug 18 at the Dambulla international stadium.

India has won only one of the four Test series they have played in Sri Lanka since 1985. Their previous tour in 2001 ended in a 2-1 defeat.

Although India’s one-day and Twenty20 team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has opted out of this series, citing fatigue caused by non-stop cricket, Kumble has got the backing of experienced campaigners such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid - each has thousands of fans in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan fans are eagerly waiting to witness Indian cricket maestro Sachin Tendulker reach yet another historic landmark by breaking West Indies Brian Lara’s record of maximum Test runs.

He needs 172 runs to overhaul retired Lara’s record of 11,953 runs in Tests. At present, the 35-year old Tendulkar, playing his 20th international season, is on 11,782.

Tendulkar, who made his Test debut against Pakistan in 1989, has so far played in 147 Tests, scoring 39 centuries and 49 half-centuries, averaging 55.31. Lara, who retired at the end of 2006, made 34 centuries and 48 half-centuries in 131 Tests, for an average of 52.88.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s former Test captain Hashan Tillekaratne has been appointed Sri Lanka’s cricket team manager for the Test and ODI series, an SLC official told IANS Tuesday.

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