Over-friendly neighbours India and Sri Lanka sat down yet again for an all-too-familiar contest at Kolkata, only for it to turn upside down, in ways not many thought was possible.
It was India, and not Sri Lanka, which was under the mats on Thursday when the two teams met at Kolkata for Day 1 the first Test.
Although only 11 overs of play was possible on a rain-marred day, there was ample evidence to suggest that had a full day's play been possible, the hosts might have ended up in an embarrassing position.
India ended the first day at 17 for 3 after 11.5 overs, after being asked to bat first on a pitch which was expected to assist the seamers.
India went into the Test with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan as openers, leaving no place for Murali Vijay. India also decided to go in their two spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, while their opposition added seam-bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka to their playing XI.
Put into bat, Suranga Lakmal struck on the first ball of the day, snaring Rahul with one that bounced off the good length. Lakmal further continued his havoc; using his height to generate ample bounce coupled with his natural swing, to take out Dhawan, which was then followed by the prized scalp of India captain Virat Kohli.
On Day 2, if rain stays away, the visitors would like Lakmal to further his Day 1 exploits and take out the duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the last recognised batting pair for the hosts.
Lahiru Gamage, the other new ball bowler too had a good day and the Lankans would be hoping to see his name on the wicket-taking column on Friday. Gamage however, erred a bit on his length on the day, sometimes being too short and wide, while other times he overcompensated with an over-pitched delivery.
The selection of Shanaka could prove to be crucial on Friday, if the weather and the pitch retain their nature from the first day. A seam-bowling all-rounder in the prevailing conditions would be a desirable option for any team, and the hosts might rue the fact that they decided to rest their star all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
This all could mean that Sri Lanka’s spinners, Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera could be demoted to a run-holding role.
Sri Lanka’s best case scenario on Day 2 would be to skittle India out for a small total, preferrably lower than 250. And considering India’s decision to go with five specialist batsmen, with three of them already back in the pavilion, it's not as arduous a task as it seems to be.