Before being trounced by 7 wickets at the Galle International Stadium in the first Test against England, Sri Lanka boasted a handsome record of 18 wins in the 32 Test they played at the venue. And even after the loss, 18 wins in 33 Tests is not an unimpressive record for the hosts, who seem to have gotten habitual of taking a beating by Englishmen in their backyard.
If Sri Lanka’s faring at the venue instills promise, England’s streak of two wins at the venue and 5 successive wins in the island nation is suggestive of who has dominated whom, of late. England seems to have a knack for winning in unfamiliar territories. How else does one explain their 28 Test wins in Asia – the most by a non-Asian team in the continent?
Coming into this series after being walloped 2-0 in South Africa, their opponent, Sri Lanka, had plenty to be positive about: they earned the services of their mainstays – who all were missing due to a variety of injuries on the previous tour; their bowlers were pitted up against batsmen for whom the dusty, turning tracks are almost alien.
And despite all the givens, England, who last lost a Test in Sri Lanka in 2012, continued with their special brand of cricket to record a deserving win, which ensured that they cannot lose this two-match series. Even though Sri Lanka portrayed some resilience to stage a comeback, and managed to put up a fight that looked a remote possibility at the halfway mark, they were guilty of laying the foundation of an England win through their horror-show in the first innings.
That said, England will have a fair share of things to pen down and ensure not repeating in the second Test. They dropped plenty of chances in the field, and the fact that they had to bat despite managing a 286-run lead in the first innings needs some contemplation. While Joe Root’s double century and stellar contributions from both Dan Lawrence, on debut, and Jonny Bairstow remain the foundation of their victory, the scorecard is least suggestive of the erring lengths and the dearth of the discipline of their spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
Even though they picked fifers in what was the only instance after 1982 when two England spinners took five-fors in a Test, it invariably cloaks a thing or two. The series forms a part of the World Test Championship, and while the chance of earning a ticket to Lords for Sri Lanka – who currently occupy the 7th spot in the tally after a series of uninspiring performances – is over, England still lies in contention, at least mathematically.
A loss for them will be the kiss of death, and while a win will not earn them a top-two spot until a few other results fall in their favor, Joe Root would certainly not want to take the knockout punch even before they face a sterner test against India soon.
Pitch and conditions
It will take Stuart Broad’s class for pacers to shine at Galle, who managed to give Angelo Mathews a vibe of England on a track that offered square turn, invariable bounce, opened cracks, and rising dust clouds on the pitching of the ball, as day two of the first Test. The strip stayed true to its expectation, and nothing similar will be on offer come the second Test.
Playing combinations for SL vs ENG
Ahead of the second Test, Sri Lanka has released 5 players from the bio-bubble, which includes skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, apart from quicks Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep. While Karunaratne has been released after a relapse of pain in the thumb he injured during the South Africa tour, Kusal Mendis, who broke his streak of four ducks through a 15-run knock in the second innings, has been allowed to leave owing to his dismal form.
Roshen Silva is set to replace him at number three. If, as Sri Lanka hopes, Suranga Lakmal can make a return, they are expected to go ahead with the combination of three spinners and a solitary frontline quick.
Predicted XI: Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Roshen Silva, Dinesh Chandimal (C), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal
While Captain Joe Root and Coach Chris Silverwood suggested that England is highly likely to make changes in their eleven keeping in mind the coming tour against India, the management nevertheless made only one change, that of Stuart Broad, who has been replaced by James Anderson. That means that Olly Stone will need to wait longer for his debut, whereas Chris Woakes had no business in the entire tour.
Moeen Ali, who tested positive for COVID-19, continues to miss out despite joining the team, while spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess have kept their place. Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley do not have fond memories from the first Test, however, skipper Root has backed them to perform.
Playing XI: Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (C), Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler (WK), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Olly Stone, James Anderson
SL vs ENG Head to head
Played – 35 | Sri Lanka – 8 | England – 16 | Draw – 11 | Tied – 0
SL vs ENG Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 10:00 AM (IST)
TV – Sony Sports Network
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- SL vs ENG, 2021: 2nd Test, Day 4 – England’s winning streaks, A rare successful chase at Galle and more stats
- Ball lands in a bucket full of paint after Jonny Bairstow hits a six in SL vs ENG Galle Test
- England players acknowledge fan Rob Lewis after winning the Test series against Sri Lanka
- Twitter Reactions: Emphatic England clean-sweep after Sri Lanka’s horrific collapse
- ‘Are you opening in India?’ – Niroshan Dickwella tries to sledge Dom Sibley; England opener gives an honest response