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HomeCricketWest Indies v Sri Lanka 3rd Test Preview

West Indies v Sri Lanka 3rd Test Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Shannon Gabriel West Indies v Sri Lanka 3rd Test Preview

This series wasn’t going to be the most memorable one on the calendar. However, it has delivered some fine moments, thanks to some wonderful individual performances. It has also offered controversy, which will impact the third and final Test, with still plenty to play for. The first Day/Night Test in the Caribbean could be where West Indies finally pick up their first home Test series win since 2014.

Before the series, if you thought West Indies were outsiders, you were not alone. I thought the same. The Windies have overcome their poor Test form over the last 18 months, and Sri Lanka’s encouraging run of results since October 2017, and sit very close to a cherished series win. Shannon Gabriel has been outstanding, notching up a 13-wicket haul in St. Lucia, breaking a bunch of records. They have lost two out of two Day/Night Test to date, but this represents their best opportunity for a win.

Sri Lanka are in all sorts. Their three key players – Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath will all be missing in this Test, in addition to the possibility of Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha facing suspensions. They were better with the ball in St Lucia (perhaps because it was tampered with), but they face a huge mountain to climb. Suranga Lakmal will lead – he will become Sri Lanka’s 8th captain in the last 12 months across formats. If Sri Lanka level the series, it will be a very memorable result.

Key to a West Indies win

There is serious pressure on Kusal Mendis now that Dinesh Chandimal, one of Sri Lanka’s key batsmen, had his appeal dismissed. This presents a magnificent opportunity for Shannon Gabriel and co to pounce, especially with the pink ball that could do plenty, particularly under lights.
In addition to Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Jason Holder and Miguel Cummins have all had some good moments in this series. On a Bridgetown pitch that typically favours seam bowling, Sri Lanka’s batsmen could be in for a very tough Test. It’s the job of the Windies bowlers to ensure that is the case.
Also, in St Lucia, all of the Windies’ top seven batsmen notched up double figures in the first innings. However, only two converted to half centuries. After knocking over Sri Lanka for 253, there was a chance to get a bigger first innings lead. Starts need to be converted better in Bridgetown.

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Do Australia have a better chance of avoiding an ODI series whitewash in England?
It’s difficult to see Sri Lanka winning this Test, but I believe they have a couple of key avenues to victory.
The performances of the seam bowlers in the 2nd Test would have encouraged all associated with Sri Lankan cricket, especially debutant Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kamara. There is so much onus on the Sri Lankan seamers to get it right with the pink ball, looking at how fragile their batting line up is.
Speaking of their fragile line up, 23 year old Kusal Mendis is vital to their chances. Thankfully for Sri Lanka, he has been in good form, notching up scores of 4, 102, 45 and 87. In four Test this year, he averages 72.71. Can he get some support from the likes of Gunathilaka (who’s likely to play), de Silva and Kusal Perera (who’s likely to move down the order)?

Predicted teams

Miguel Cummins has had some decent moments in this series, but needs more output. I still believe he will be picked and West Indies will go with the same XI.
West Indies XI: 1. Kraigg Brathwaite, 2. Devon Smith, 3. Kieran Powell, 4. Shai Hope, 5. Roston Chase, 6. Shane Dowrich (wk), 7. Jason Holder (c), 8. Devendra Bishoo, 9. Keemo Paul/Miguel Cummins, 10. Kemar Roach, 11. Shannon Gabriel
Sri Lanka will be without four Test regulars, which makes predicting their team quite difficult. Kusal Perera should be down the order, with Danushka Gunathilaka to open. Sri Lanka could go with this option.
Sri Lanka XI: 1. Danushka Gunathilaka, 2. Mahela Udawatte, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Roshen Silva, 6. Kusal Perera, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8. Suranga Lakmal (c), 9. Akila Dananjaya, 10. Kasun Rajitha, 11. Lahiru Kumara

Stats and Facts:

  • West Indies have not won a Test series against a team other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe since 2012.
  • West Indies’ last home Test series win was in 2014 v Bangladesh.
  • Sri Lanka’s winless time in the Caribbean will continue. They have never won a Test series in West Indies.
  • Shannon Gabriel has taken 51 wickets at 23.49 since the start of 2017.
  • West Indies have won their two most recent Tests at Kensington Oval – vs. Pakistan and England.

Prediction

Sri Lanka look decimated at the moment, and it’s hard to see them win this Test. West Indies look far more settled, and their seam bowlers can exploit the conditions better. Weather permitting, I will confidently pick West Indies to win this Test and take the series 2-0. 

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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