India look to settle 17-year score in Sri Lanka

GALLE, July 16, 2010 (AFP) – India on Sunday embark on a third Test series in two years against Sri Lanka, with the world’s top-rated side hoping to end their 17-year drought in the island nation. The Indians have not won a Test series in Sri Lanka since a 1-0 success by Mohammad Azharuddin’s team in 1993, despite playing on similar slow wickets at home.

India lost 2-1 the last time they played in Sri Lanka, in August 2008, but gained revenge with a 2-0 victory at home a year later that propelled Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men to the top of the official Test rankings.

India’s new-found love for Test cricket over the more lucrative one-day matches saw them pencil in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka — and another chance to defend their ranking.

It was an offer too good to refuse for Sri Lanka, whose only scheduled Test series this year would have been at home against the West Indies in November.

“The boys were desperate to play Test cricket, which is the pinnacle of the sport, and I am grateful that India agreed to this series,” Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said.

Sri Lanka, currently fourth in the Test rankings behind India, Australia and South Africa, are