The Lankan Lions have started to hunt again and now they have cornered New Zealand in the 2-match Test series. Both the sides put up an impressive show in the inaugural tie but the hosts trounced the Kiwis emphatically. It was a rare occasion of a team successfully chasing down the 4th innings total at the Galle. Now the action will move to Colombo for the second game where the teams will battle it out with the series on the line.
Sri Lanka has returned to the winning ways and the side has looked potent under Dimuth Karunaratne’s leadership. Their batting has evolved and even the youngsters stepped up in the previous encounter with crucial contributions. Still, the team needs to figure out some combinations which can help the side in the long run.
On the other side, Kiwis have surely improved their overseas reputation and they can be proud of their efforts in their first ICC championship match. The visitors were not able to deliver the knockout punch which allowed the opposition to sneak in the game under their noses. They will be eager to correct their mistakes and square the series at P Sara Oval.
After their record-breaking opening partnership at Galle, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne are expected to carry the opening charge. Kusal Mendis needs to be more consistent at the top of the order. Then the middle-order will be served by the experienced campaigner Angelo Mathews along with Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva.
Keeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella can be the game-changer with his attacking style of play. The spin duo of Akila Dananjaya and Lasith Embuldeniya are slowly filling the boots of Rangana Herath. Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara are likely to retain their places but the latter needs to improve his control with the new ball.
Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara.
The opening pair of Jeet Raval and Tom Latham has safely negotiated the early burst but they also need to keep the scoreboard ticking. Kane Williamson will have to orchestrate the rest of the batting line-up. He will be ably supported by the veteran, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls who are good players of spin.
BJ Watling has been an unsung hero of the team with his keeping and batting skills. All-rounder, Mitchell Santner will be looking to improve his batting contributions. The spinners Ajaz Patel and William Somerville will be the key players if the team needs to level the series. Trent Boult will be sharing the new ball with Neil Wagner who might replace Tim Southee in the playing XI.
Probable XI: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner/Todd Astle, BJ Watling, Ajaz Patel, William Somerville, Trent Boult, Tim Southee/ Neil Wagner.
Focus will be on
Akila Dananjaya (Sri Lanka)
After his 2019 World Cup snub the youngster seems to be on a mission to prove his mettle. A month ago he was bowling beautifully against the visiting Bangladesh team. Then he further made his point by picking up a 5-wicket haul in the first test. Even the skipper has termed him as a strike force across formats.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Of late the Black Caps have enjoyed great success in overseas tours and a lot of credit for the same should go to their skipper, Kane Williamson. Their batting revolves around him and his ability to adapt makes him a vital cog in this side. He is one of the few players who can tackle world-class spinners with ease. Williamson will be keen to forget twin failures in the first Test and help his side level the series.
Head to Head
Matches played – 35 | Sri Lanka won – 9 | New Zealand won – 15 | Draw – 11
17.92 – Bowling average recorded by Trent Boult in Sri Lanka which is quite remarkable.
51.33 – Batting average of Angelo Mathews in Tests at P Sara Oval.
TV – Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming– Sony Liv
Match Timings – 10:00 AM IST and local
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