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HomeCricketWest Indies v Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview

West Indies v Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

West Indies v Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview Cricket Blog

When you saw the packed  cricket calendar for 2018, did you highlight this one with a big red pen and say “I can’t wait?”

Probably not, but these are two sides who have suffered a slide in Test cricket over recent years, and will be looking forward to an opportunity for success.

This series could set the record for most spectators dressed as stadium chairs, competing with the UAE, which is a shame. However, it should be a competitive one.

West Indies are desperately longing for Test success. They don’t quite know what it means anymore, with their biggest stars dominating T20 tournaments around the globe. With one Test series win in their last 11 attempts, and their best top order average being 38, I wouldn’t blame anyone for crying when thinking about where West Indies are in the white clothed format. They welcome Sri Lanka for a Test series for the first time since 2008, and they would back their chances, considering Sri Lanka are also not as strong as they once were.

But, Sri Lanka perhaps have a little more to be optimistic about. Since October 2017, they won a series against Pakistan in the UAE, drew two Tests in India and beat Bangladesh in Bangladesh, where the Tigers have beaten England and Australia in Test matches. The Lions have never won a Test series in the Caribbean, and will probably never get a better chance than now. Who knows how much longer Rangana Herath will go on for, and captain Dinesh Chandimal was in very good Test form last year, which Sri Lanka hope he can continue to build on.

Key to a West Indies win

West Indies have players who have had good moments in Test cricket. The likes of Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope and Roston Chase have shown spurts of quality, but unfortunately for West Indies, it just hasn’t been often enough. Highlighted in their averages of 37.43, 33.20 and 38.03 respectively, they are yet to play enough match turning knocks for their country.
Against a Sri Lanka attack that leaves a lot to be desired, the onus is on the West Indies batting to get runs on the board, and give their bowling attack, which includes the talented Kemar Roach and Devendra Bishoo, breathing space.
Shai Hope West Indies v Sri Lanka Preview Cricket Blog
Shai Hope was superb for WI in England & Zimbabwe last year

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Sri Lanka, like West Indies, possess an uncertain top order. The key is to make the West Indies line up toil, just as they made Pakistan, India and Bangladesh do at times in their most recent Test assignments. 
Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews have a combined 118 Tests between them, and are the glue of the Sri Lankan batting line up. They need to be like super glue here, either pushing on from the good work of the top order, or arresting a collapse, if it occurs.
Also, how well can Rangana Herath perform at age 40? Against West Indies, he has 23 wickets in seven Tests at 25, which is a good return. Can the other bowlers pull their weight in and contribute to a collaborative bowling performance?
Rangana Herath West Indies v Sri Lanka Preview Cricket Blog
What impact can Rangana Herath have?

Predicted teams

Devendra Bishoo is the only specialist spinner in West Indies’ squad, so he’ll surely play. The seamers will have to find ways to break down the Sri Lanka batting line up.

West Indies XI: 1. Kraigg Brathwaite, 2. Kieran Powell, 3. Shimron Hetmyer, 4. Shai Hope, 5. Roston Chase, 6. Shane Dowrich (wk), 7. Jason Holder (c), 8. Devendra Bishoo, 9. Miguel Cummins, 10. Kemar Roach, 11. Shannon Gabriel

It is unsure whether Dhananjaya de Silva will take his place in the Test team, after arriving back to the West Indies following the sad death of his father. If he doesn’t play, Kusal Perera could be placed there. Also, with Dimuth Karunaratne injured, 31 year old Mahela Udawatte could make his debut at the top of the order.

Sri Lanka XI: 1. Kusal Mendis, 2. Mahela Udawatte, 3. Kusal Perera, 4. Roshen Silva, 5. Dinesh Chandimal (c), 6. Angelo Mathews, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8. Dilruwan Perera, 9. Rangana Herath, 10. Suranga Lakmal, 11. Lahiru Gamage

Stats and Facts:

  • Sri Lanka have lost just one of their last seven Tests. This includes two series wins, against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • West Indies have only won one Test series out of their last 11. This came against Zimbabwe last year.
  • Dinesh Chandimal averages 48.50 in his 10 Tests as captain. 
  • Sri Lanka have only played six Tests in the West Indies. The last was in 2008.
  • West Indies, in addition to their lack of series wins, have won just two of their last 12 Tests at home.

Prediction:

Two sides with so much improvement in them makes this one hard to predict, but I will go with Sri Lanka to win thanks to more experience in their line up.

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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