Dhawan and Mukund to open for India


Virat Kohli has said India will not experiment by using Rohit Sharma as an opener in the first Test against Sri Lanka, meaning Shikhar Dhawan is set to make his return to five-day cricket in Galle alongside Abhinav Mukund.

India have been shorn of each of their first-choice openers ahead of the first Test, which begins on Wednesday, with KL Rahul ruled out with viral fever and Murali Vijay absent due to a wrist injury.

Speaking at a news conference on the eve of the series opener, Kohli made it clear India had no intention of using Rohit - a player with plenty of experience when it comes to opening in the shorter forms - at the top of the order this week.

"Rohit has never opened in Test cricket and we don't see that kind of experiment happening here, because we have specialist openers in the team," said Kohli.

"They will obviously be starting this game. We have total belief in the guys that are in the squad. It's a great opportunity for someone like an Abhinav or a Shikhar.

"These kinds of scenarios present opportunities for other players in the team to step up and show what they are capable of."

All-rounder Hardik Pandya appears likely to earn a Test debut in Galle.

"We believe that we have the kind of skill that is required to win away from our conditions. We have all bases covered strongly," Kohli added.

"We've got great balance in the side. We've got a guy like Hardik Pandya who is a wicket-taking bowler. Every game that he plays, on any surface, he has a knack of picking up wickets, so he has a great chance of playing."