With both captain Rahul Dravid and vice captain Virender Sehwag down with the flu, India on Friday faced fitness problems on the eve of the second cricket test against Sri Lanka. Dravid missed the team practice session Friday and stayed in his hotel room as a precaution, while Sehwag recovered from a throat infection and fever in a local hospital, India coach Greg Chappell told reporters.
"We are hopeful and expecting that both will play tomorrow," Chappell said. However, Sehwag, who was hospitalized on Thursday, looks increasingly unlikely to play in the second test. "His health improved after overnight treatment and he took a soft diet for breakfast today. But if you ask me whether he should be playing tomorrow, my advise will be that he should avoid the game and take rest for at least five to six days," S. P. Byotra, a doctor treating the Indian cricketer at Ganga Ram Hospital, told reporters. Sri Lanka is looking for its first win on the Indian soil after performing better than its subcontinental rival in the rain-hit marred first test at Madras this week which ended in a draw. The second test, beginning Saturday, will be played on a newly laid wicket in the Indian capital which is expected to help seamers. Left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas captured four Indian wickets on a dry, slow pitch in Madras, where off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan also bowled well.
The duo will spearhead the Sri Lankan attack and pose a stern test for two former Indian captains, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, who are struggling to regain form. Ganguly, 33, is battling to keep his place in the team after being stripped of both the test and limed-overs team captaincy.
Monsoon rains washed out 3-1/2 days of the first test in Madras, but an impressive performance by the Sri Lankans will have boosted their morale after a 6-1 drubbing by India in the one-day series last month. Sri Lanka dismissed India for 167 at Madras test, the home side's lowest total against Sri Lanka. The visitors overhauled India's first innings total with six wickets in hand, before the game was called off as a draw. On Friday, Chappell said he was not going to be carried away by India's performance in the first test, reports the AP. N.U.