The much-anticipated Test series between Sri Lanka and England stars from Thursday (January 14) at Galle International Stadium.
The home team have experienced a tragic 2-0 defeat in the recently concluded Test series against South Africa. So, the Lankans would be eager to bounce back and that too in their own backyard.
On the other hand, England had enjoyed a pretty good summer defeating teams like West Indies and Pakistan. This is their first tour since the pandemic arrived.
The positive thing for the visitors is that they had swept the 3-match series against Lankans when they last visited the Island in 2018.
It was Joe Root’s first series win away from home as captain; while England had marked their first clean sweep overseas since 1963.
Surrounded by the ocean on both sides, Galle provides everything that a spinner wishes for. Legends like Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath have ruled here with 111 and 102 wickets, respectively. However, if batsmen tackle spin well, then runs aren’t that hard to score at this venue.
Head to head record:
Matches played: 34 | England: 15 | Sri Lanka: 8 | Draw: 11 | Tied: 0
England all-rounder Moeen Ali shall remain in quarantine and expected to miss whole of Test series. This means Dom Bess and Jack Leach would be England’s frontline spinners. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer have been rested from this tour.
Dan Lawrence might make his Test debut while there could be a toss-up between Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Jos Buttler, Dan Lawrence, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.
After the end of the second Test against South Africa, Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne had hoped for the return of three key players – Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Suranga Lakmal – for the England series. However, an update regarding the rest of unfit payers is yet not fully clear.
SL XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando/Asitha Fernando.
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