Lankans need favourable pitches to trouble India: Gambhir

Mumbai: Sri Lanka can trouble India in the upcoming Test series only if they prepare favourable pitches for their bowlers, reckons veteran opener Gautam Gambhir.

Sri Lanka are facing a crisis of confidence after an embarrassing 2-3 series defeat against lower-ranked Zimbabwe in the ODIs. They managed to pull off a face-saving win in the one-off Test against the African nation ahead of India tour.

Gambhir says India will be too good for Sri Lanka in the tour, beginning with the first Test from July 26.

“Obviously, India start as favourites because they are the world number 1 and Sri Lanka, the way they have played, they don’t have the bowling attack to trouble India. The only way Sri Lanka can trouble India is to prepare wickets which work for their bowlers,” Gambhir told PTI during an interaction.

“The only way Sri Lanka can compete is if they can manage to get 20 wickets and to do that they need to have pitches in their favour,” Gambhir added.

The left-handed batsman will be part of ESPNcricinfo’s new show ‘Turn and Bounce’ as an expert.

India played the Champions Trophy, where they ended runners up and then an ODI series in the West Indies before concluding their Caribbean tour with an one-off Twenty 20.

Gambhir said quick change in format is not an issue with international teams now.

“Even Sri Lanka played the Champions Trophy, they only had one Test match against Zimbabwe, that is how international cricket is now. You need to get mentally ready to get used to different formats,” he added.

Sri Lanka managed a big chase against Zimbabwe, scoring 391 for four in the fourth innings of one-off Test but Gambhir says playing India is an altogether different challenge.

“It is always good to win against any opposition but you can’t compare Zimbabwe to India. India will be a completely different challenge. It will be far difficult,” he said.

The batsman also stressed on the importance of openers in any format of the game.

“Openers are always important in any format, not only in Test cricket, but in ODIs and T20s, the platform set by openers is important, it gives middle order liberty to go and play the way they want to,” said Gambhir.