Galle - Two years ago Virat Kohli's India started a series
in Sri Lanka as the team almost anyone could beat, on Wednesday they take to
the field in Galle as the team to beat.
India may have been nervous last time, but now Kohli says
the side has come full circle with "no massive areas of concern" as
they seek to strengthen their hold on number one Test nation status.
Two years ago, India had not won a series in seven attempts.
They lost the opening Galle Test and it was an electro-shock. They won that
India have since been embroiled in near chaos off the field
- the governing body put under Supreme Court administration and a coach forced
out by clashes with the captain - but near domination in competition: 13 Tests
played, 10 won, two drawn and just one defeat.
Kohli said Tuesday that he wants a definitive end to the
drama over the departure of Anil Kumble as coach and a winning start to the new
era with Ravi Shastri.
"We have spoken enough about these issues and it is
something that we are not focusing on at all now," the skipper Kohli said.
"We are just looking forward to the cricket now and in
this series to showcase our skills and have consistent performances, which we
have had as a side ever since we started our climb back in the rankings."
Kohli said Sri Lanka can expect a different start and that
India can dominate Tests for years to come. They are expected to defend their
top Test ranking in South Africa, England and Australia in the next year.
"It's pretty different sitting here two years after
that particular series," Kohli said of the last Sri Lanka games.
Those Tests were "very important in us coming together
as a team in believing that we can win a series and not just matches. So that
was the beginning of that mind-set."
The captain added: "I think we have built a really good
base for us as a team to be able to do that consistently over the next few
"We are pretty humble in our preparations and do the
hard yards every game that we play.
"We have all bases covered strongly."
India have ruled opening batsman Lokesh Rahul out of the
first Test with a viral fever.
Kohli said there would be no experiments with the opening
lineup, which means Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund should start the batting.
"I don't think there are any massive areas of concern
for us," Kohli said.
"We've been looking to fine-tune smaller areas during
the course of the game, which probably people might not be able to pick
Kohli said the onus was on the Indian players to "put
us into a position where we can't lose.
"We have been able to put ourselves in a position in
games, 80-85 percent of the games, where there's only one winner left.
"That's the kind of sustained pressure that we've been
able to build."