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Sri Lanka vs England 3rd Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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Image credit: AP

ODIs, check. T20I, check. Tests? Not quite check yet for England.

The series has been won by England, which is a big achievement in these conditions, but more awaits. No non-Asian side has swept Sri Lanka 3-0 in Sri Lanka since the great Australia team 14 years ago, and England have the opportunity to pick up their first clean sweep away from home (series of three or more matches) since 1963.

Will they achieve it?

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For Sri Lanka, a series that began with promise is in tatters. Their Test form in the 13 months before this series was encouraging, and entered the series with the hope of dismantling England’s side with spin. Now, their captain Dinesh Chandimal remains injured, Akila Dananjaya is in Brisbane getting his action reassessed, Kusal Mendis is short of runs and there is no more Rangana Herath to turn to. After a fighting effort in a thrilling Pallekele Test, can Sri Lanka go one better and salvage pride in Colombo?

England are on cloud nine, and skipper Joe Root believes this side has what it takes to go to number one in the Test rankings. Jack Leach and Ben Foakes have been breaths of fresh air for this England side, displaying the quality England have so badly lacked on the road in recent years. Jonny Bairstow, considered a mainstay of the England side just months ago, is back and needs to cement his spot as a batsman. Will England prolong the happy mood in Colombo?

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Suranga Lakmal rightly pointed out that knocking off England’s tail is an area of improvement for his side. On that note, Sam Curran missing out through injury will be a relief for Sri Lanka. However, Ben Foakes is due to bat at number seven or eight for England, highlighting the depth of the tourists’ line up. A focus on only the tail from a Sri Lankan perspective can mean a very long wait to bowl at them.
The absence of Akila Dananjaya heaps more pressure on Dilruwan Perera, who will need support from Malinda Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan, both who can leak runs. How well will these three work together on what is expected to be a turning pitch from day one?
On the batting front, Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva were excellent in the 2nd Test. Suranga Lakmal will be wanting more of the same from these three, as well as Kusal Mendis, of whom the pressure is building as Sri Lanka’s future star. Can Sri Lanka’s batting create a path to victory even if they bat second?

Key to an England win

19 of England’s 20 wickets in Pallekele were taken by their spin trio, and more of the same can be expected in Colombo. Jack Leach has delivered the control and guile that Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid often lack overseas, which has enabled them to bowl with more freedom, even if Rashid hasn’t always bowled well. Will these three dominate again? What impact will Stuart Broad have in conditions he has struggled with in the past?

Also, it has to be said that England’s batting has impressed in this series. Joe Root has put an end to conversion rate jokes aimed at him (mainly from me), with impressive performances from the likes of Jos Buttler, Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings and of course Ben Foakes. With England possessing a deep line up for the third Test, can they drive Sri Lanka into the mire further? To do this, though, England need to guard against top order wobbles that have been present in this series.

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Possible teams

Kaushal Silva continues to underperform for Sri Lanka, and could make way for the returning Danushka Gunathilaka. Also, Lakshan Sandakan will likely be the one to replace Akila Dananjaya.
Sri Lanka: 1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Roshen Silva, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8. Dilruwan Perera, 9. Suranga Lakmal (c), 10. Lakshan Sandakan, 11. Malinda Pushpakumara
For England, James Anderson will be rested, to be replaced by Stuart Broad. Also, Jonny Bairstow, coming in for Sam Curran, will bat at three.
England: 1. Rory Burns, 2. Keaton Jennings, 3. Jonny Bairstow, 4. Joe Root (c), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler, 7. Ben Foakes (wk), 8. Moeen Ali, 9. Stuart Broad, 10. Adil Rashid, 11. Jack Leach

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My team for the second Test fortunately went well, finishing 8th in a 1,000 team league. Few slight adjustments for this Test to try get the top spot and deliver great tips for you! My team is below with a few pointers.
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  • Despite the Colombo track expected to take plenty of turn, I have picked five batsmen, who are all in good touch. Joe Root is set for a very good run of form, so he is captain.
  • Ben Foakes could bat at eight, but I don’t care. He is brilliant. He is my keeper/batsman.
  • Dilruwan Perera is having a good series, and will do plenty of bowling. He is my VC.
  • Lakshan Sandakan should play, and will offer a threat on a turning surface. So too Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach, who took 19 of England’s 20 wickets in Pallekele.

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Stats and Facts

  • England have not whitewashed a team away from home (three games or longer) since 1963.
  • Stuart Broad (433 wickets) needs one to pass Rangana Herath, and two to pass Kapil Dev into seventh on the all-time wicket takers list.
  • Sri Lanka have not been whitewashed in a Test series at home by a non-Asian side since Australia in 2004.

Prediction

The toss will likely prove crucial in this one.
However, I feel England are best equipped out of the two sides to win if they bat second. England to sweep the series 3-0.
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 been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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