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Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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It was all looking optimstic for Sri Lanka. They took to the field in the first Test with a chance to send off Rangana Herath as a winner in the fortress that is Galle, against an England side that hadn’t won an away Test for over two years.

Fast forward a week and it all looks very gloomy.

Will Sri Lanka bounce back in Pallekele with a few key players missing, or will England take an unassailable 2-0 lead to achieve all-format success on this tour?

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Sri Lanka’s Test form over the last 13 months has been good, winning six and losing just three, which includes their first Test defeat. But, Rangana Herath has been at the centre of any Test success in recent years, and he is no longer around. Further, Dinesh Chandimal will miss the game with a groin injury, and Akila Dananjaya has been reported for a suspect action. These are very challenging times for Sri Lanka, who desperately need some on-field respite.

For England, Galle was a major step in the right direction. Ben Foakes showcased his immense class on Test debut, helping England to a strong first innings total after a shaky start. The bowlers were then excellent in disposing of Sri Lanka twice, leading to a big win at a ground where non-Asian sides typically struggle. Will England seal the series in Pallekele?

Ben Foakes was superb in Galle

Key to a Sri Lanka win

There is no more Rangana Herath, so who will step up for Sri Lanka in a time of need?
Being without their finest strike weapon since Murali’s retirement surely puts greater onus on the batsmen to perform, to enable their bowling unit to put pressure on England. Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Kaushal Silva have all been underwhelming since the beginning of 2017, and must get in the runs along with Dimuth Karunaratne to give Sri Lanka a strong foothold in the game. The batsmen lacked application in Galle, making life easy at times for England’s bowlers, which is something they must avoid in the second Test.
On the bowling front, there is a huge hole that needs to be filled. Covering for the loss of Rangana Herath is not a one-man job – all bowlers need to display discipline and application, led by Dilruwan Perera, who needs more support than he received in Galle. After a fine start in the first Test, Sri Lanka fell away badly. Can they sustain their good moments in Pallekele?

Key to an England win

Ben Foakes was superb on debut for England, and so too Keaton Jennings and the middle order. The way spin was played would encourage all associated with England cricket, grinding Sri Lanka down really well after a chaotic start to the Galle Test.
Can Keaton Jennings back up his fine first Test to truly kickstart his career? Will Rory Burns play his first substantial innings in Test cricket, backed up by a strong middle order that includes Joe Root, Ben Stokes and the now undroppable Ben Foakes? With no Rangana Herath in the opposition, England have the opportunity to pile the pressure on Sri Lanka with smart, patient batting.
With the ball, England look far more settled than Sri Lanka. Jack Leach has been a breath of fresh air for England in conditions where they have struggled for penetration in the last few years. His ability to bowl accurately and get help from the surface is something England will crave again, backed up by Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, who were in the wickets in Galle. Can England display the ruthlessness away from home that they crave?

Possible teams

Akila Dananjaya could be left out after a disappointing outing in Galle, and the fact he has an action issue lingering over his head. Also, skipper Dinesh Chandimal will miss the game with injury, increasing the pressure on Sri Lanka’s squad. Roshen Silva is expected to replace him.
Sri Lanka: 1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 2. Kaushal Silva, 3. Kusal Mendis, 4. Roshen Silva, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dhananjaya de Silva, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8. Dilruwan Perera, 9. Suranga Lakmal, 10. Akila Dananjaya/Lakshan Sandakan, 11. Malinda Pushpakumara

Jonny Bairstow has recovered from injury but he might very well not make it back to the side.

England: 1. Keaton Jennings, 2. Rory Burns, 3. Moeen Ali, 4. Joe Root (c), 5. Ben Foakes, 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Jos Buttler, 8. Sam Curran, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Jack Leach, 11. James Anderson

Dream11

Should England dominate your Dream11 side? Below is my team with a few pointers.

Sri Lanka vs England 1st Test Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
  • Ben Foakes is a must, not because to chase his score from the first Test, but because he is capable of backing it up. His technique is magnificent.
  • Leaving out Keaton Jennings was a tough choice, but it remains to be seen whether he can show consistency. Joe Root is my captain.
  • Moeen Ali, Dilruwan Perera and Ben Stokes represent good point scoring potential.
  • Bowling stocks are quite limited in my opinion, which is why I have stuck with three.
Migraine Stop

Stats and Facts

  • Only Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal have averaged over 40 for Sri Lanka in Tests since the beginning of 2017.
  • The last 22 Tests in Sri Lanka have produced a result. This is the highest consecutive number of results in any single country.
  • England’s win in Galle was their first away since beating Bangladesh by 22 runs in Chittagong in October 2016.

Prediction

The toss could play a crucial role again, but England are looking far more settled at the moment.
Joe Root has a number of bowlers he can turn to, as well as a long batting line up that can make life after Rangana Herath tough for Sri Lanka.
Rain permitting, I think England will win.
Thanks for reading!

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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