Hosts Sri Lanka take on England in the first Test of a 2-match series at the Galle International Stadium starting this Thursday.
Sri Lanka are coming off a 2-0 series loss in South Africa after a whole list of injuries left them struggling to compete. Playing in their home conditions, they will be eager to bounce back against a strong English side.
D de Silva, S Lakmal, and K Rajitha will miss out on the match due to injuries. L Thirimanne and M Bhanuka will replace A Matthews and D Chandimal in the playing XI if the latter two do not recover from their injuries before the game. The bowling department will have two front-line spinners and pace bowlers.
England played the most amount of Test cricket last year, with six Test matches against the West Indies (won 2-1) and Pakistan (draw 1-1). They will now play six Tests on the subcontinent, starting with the two Tests at Galle against Sri Lanka before visiting India for a 4-Test series.
With Ben Stokes and O Pope rested for this series, Dan Lawrence is expected to make his Test debut. C Woakes and M Ali will miss out because of being tested positive for Covid-19. With the tracks in Sri Lanka favoring spin bowling, J Leach will partner Dom Bess in the spin bowling attack, with skipper J Root providing the third spin bowling option.
With Test Championship points on offer, both teams will look to win and gain a rank in the Test Championship table. Expect a cracking game of Test cricket at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.
- Match: Sri Lanka vs. England, 1st Test
- Venue: Galle International Stadium, Galle
- Date & Time: Jan. 14, 2021, at 10 AM IST
Probable Playing XI
D Karunaratne (C), K Perera, K Mendis, D Chandimal, A Matthews, D Shanaka, N Dickwella (WK), W Hasaranga, V Fernando, L Embuldeniya, D Chameera
D Sibley, Z Crawley, J Bairstow, J Root (C), D Lawrence, J Buttler (WK), S Curran, S Broad, D Bess, M Wood, J Leach
Weather and Pitch Report
Galle is expected to have cloudy and dark conditions on all days of the match. Expect rain to have a certain impact on this match. The temperature will be around 30 degrees during the game.
Galle is a typical subcontinental wicket. The conditions are expected to be better for the batsmen on the first three days of the match. With rain around, there should be some movement for the seamers. Spinners will play a big role as the match progresses. The average first innings score in the last five Tests on this ground has been 394 runs.
Batting first and putting up a big score is always the best option in the subcontinent conditions. This game will be no different. Expect the captain winning the toss to bat first.
- D Karunaratne scored a fighting century in his last innings against South Africa despite testing conditions. He has a good record at Galle, scoring 976 runs at an average of 51, including three centuries. He will look to lead from the front with his performance here.
- K Perera scored two fifties in the two Tests played in South Africa recently. In the absence of several first-choice players on the team, Sri Lanka needs him to stand up and take the responsibility of scoring the bulk of the runs here.
- W Hasaranga has been one of the bright stars for Sri Lanka in the recent matches. He picked up 4 wickets and hit a half century in the two Tests in South Africa. He will be waiting to play his first Test in home conditions.
- J Root has failed to score a century in his last 9 Test matches since his double century against New Zealand in Nov. 2019. He is a class batsman and will look to end his run drought in the most alien conditions here
- S Curran has been good with the bat and the ball in his 19-Test career. He has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 32 and scored 728 runs at an average of 26.96, which includes three half centuries.
- J Leach was the highest wicket taker for England in the last series here, picking up 18 wickets in just three matches. He will look to lead the spin attack along with D Bess this time.
Howzat Dream Team
- Wicketkeepers: K Perera, J Buttler
- Batsmen: D Karunaratne, J Root, A Matthews, Z Crawley
- All-rounders: W Hasaranga, S Curran
- Bowlers: L Embuldeniya, J Leach, S Broad
- Captain: K Perera/W Hasaranga
- Vice Captain: J Root/S Curran
NOTE: The Howzat dream team above is just a suggestion. You can select your own fantasy 11, and play real cricket online matches. Also, don’t forget to make any necessary changes to your team once the actual playing 11 is announced by each team (30 minutes before the start of the match) as some players you have selected might not be part of the team suggested.
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