Deadline: January 22, 10 AM
Venue: Galle International Stadium, Galle
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It hasn’t rained in the past few days as it did before the first Test. The pitch got drier as the match progressed and is expected to remain the same. 23 of the 33 wickets that fell belonged to the spinners.
Players To Watch Out For
Joe Root scored a fifty on his debut, in India—the innings that showcased his ability to play spin. He has remarkable footwork against spinners, thus helping him score runs at a reasonable rate. His 228 runs last week came at an excellent strike rate of 71.03. England had lost both openers for a mere 17 runs to a spinner. On another day, Sri Lanka might have trapped the opposition in their spin but Root’s technique was far superior to tackle it.
Dom Bess and Jack Leach both took a five-wicket haul, a feat none of the Sri Lankan spinners could achieve. While Bess finished with 8 wickets, Leach scalped 6.
If there’s anything that Sri Lanka did right and England did not, it was their opening. Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley scored 9, 4, 8, and 2. On the other hand, Kusal Perera (62) and Lahiru Thirimanne (111) stitched up a partnership of 101 runs in the second innings.
Another positive sign was Angelo Mathews’ half-century. More than the 71 runs he collected, it was the 229 deliveries he survived under pressure that mattered more. He will play a crucial role in the middle order.
Dan Lawrence could not have asked for a better debut. 73 runs in the first innings and 21* in the second to chase down the target speaks volumes of his abilities.
Of both teams, Lasith Embuldeniya seemed the best spinner. He dismissed both English openers in both innings with a new ball. England will be mindful of his skills.
Dilruwan Perera was a part of the dream team in fantasy leagues, having taken 4 wickets and scored 24 runs.
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya
Playing XI England: Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson