“It is my first full series. It’s a great opportunity to create some momentum knowing it’s a three-Test series, having some plan in mind, having the opportunity and time to execute them,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference.

“Even if it’s an off day, you still have time to re-group and think about what went wrong. If it’s a good day, you can learn from it — the positives and the areas that need improvement. As a captain, you always need more time with the team, more games to play and better chances of creating an environment that you require the team to be in. So I am very excited. It’s an opportunity not only for me but all of us for a new Indian team. We are all pretty early in our careers and it’s exciting,” he added.

India haven’t won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993 when they won the three-match rubber 1-0. But the visiting team’s record hasn’t been too impressive. “I have been reminded of that quite a few times and I know that now,” he said, about India’s poor record.

India’s preparations, however, suffered a blow as their pre-match practice session was washed out owing to heavy rains, and even on Monday, their session had been disturbed by the rain, leaving the three-day tour match in Colombo as the only proper workout before this first Test.

But Kohli doesn’t seem to be too worried about it. “It’s probably a good thing,” said Kohli. “We have had five-six days of really good practice. Even yesterday, with whatever time we had at the nets, the intensity was up there and the guys prepared really well. The day before the game is always a light session. If someone wants to bowl or have a hit, they can. But unfortunately it rained. But I think we have got decent enough practice going into the Test. The guys are looking in good shape and everyone is mentally fresh.

“So it’s not going to make much difference. I see it as a positive where people will have the time to visualise, relax and prepare for the game with the mental aspect than putting those extra hours in practice.”

India are expected to go in with five bowlers and five specialist batsmen, along with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha at number six and skipper once again stressed on the importance of taking 20 wickets.

"The basic idea is to take 20 wickets," said Kohli, talking about the six-five strategy. "That's the only way you can win a game. The idea of playing five bowlers is pretty clear. Someone like Saha who is looking to cement his place in the side or R Ashwin who we are looking at as an all-rounder rather than a bowler who can bat, because he has the ability.

"But the responsibility is on the top five batsmen to score the bulk of the runs so that they can take the pressure of these two till the time they feel comfortable and get going in this format," he explained. "The responsibility is spread equally among all five specialist batsmen. It's not more or less on any one player,"

Kohli said both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are hungry to do well. The Sri Lankan team might be going through a rebuilding phase with many new faces in the side under captain Angelo Mathews, but Kohli felt they were a very competitive unit.

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