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Cricket is back in full swing..after the long and forced break of sports throughout the globe due to the pandemic, we are now back with intense cricketing action. With Australia and India fighting hard to preach authority. We now have the Englishmen traveling to Sri Lanka for a two-match test series which is set to commence from this Thursday. 

The last time the visitors traveled to Lanka, England became the first team to ever whitewash the Lankan at home and they would be hoping they can do that once again especially with the race to the ICC test championship heating up. 

Lankans will come into this series on the back of a hammering. They were completely outplayed by the proteas in the two-match test series. But they do have the excuse of most of their prime players being injured for the series and this time around they will be playing with a full-strength squad and the luxury of home conditions. 

England last played a test series against the Pakistanis and they did make full use of the home conditions to win the 3-match series,1-0. They are just 8 points away from Team India and would be hoping to close in the gap before they take them on next month in a 4-match test series.

Can the Lankans dominate the visitors in their den? Or will the World Cup winners prove too strong?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 34, Sri Lanka- 8, England- 15, Draw- 11

Team News

England were dealt a huge setback even before the start of the series in the form of Moeen Ali. The all-rounder was tested positive on arriving in Sri Lanka and is likely to be in quarantine for the entire duration of the series. Given that Galle heavily favors the spinners, Dom Bess and Jack Leach are expected to be heading the spin department. Daniel Lawrence who had an impressive stint at the BBL 2020 is all set to make his debut for England. 

Sri Lanka on the other hand would be glad to welcome back Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, and Dinesh Chandimal from injury and the side does look well balanced. Wanindu Hasaranga did impress everyone in his debut match against the proteas and with the conditions now in his favor, a lot is expected from the all-rounder.

Pitch and Conditions

The strip in Galle, as we know, is a bit on the slower side and the spinners are expected to play the crucial role. The batsman would find the pace easier to face and that could be the scoring opportunity. If the weather does not play spoilsport, we are likely to have a result. The toss will play a crucial role as always in Galle.

The conditions do not look quiet in favor of cricket as rainfall is expected on all five days of the game. With continuous stoppages expected, the match could well end up in a draw. The temperature is expected to be hovering in the 29-24 degree Celsius and the humidity is also anticipated to be on the higher side, touching 89 percent at peak.

Probable Playing Xl

Sri Lanka (SL): Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal

England (Eng): Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Daniel Lawrence, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, Dominic Bess, Jake Leach, James Anderson

Key Battles

Kusal Perera (SL) vs James Anderson (Eng)

Kusal Perera James Anderson England
Kusal Perera (SL) vs James Anderson (Eng)

Kusal Perera has been playing the anchoring role of Sri Lanka for the last few years and he will need to step up once again. The wicket-keeper batsman is back from an injury but looked in good rhythm in the nets. 

On the other side will be one of the greatest test bowlers- James Anderson, the 38-year old veteran who recently became the first pacer to claim 600 wickets would be pumped out to add more to his tally. It would be entertaining to see how the battle between the two veterans pans out.

Wanindu Hasaranga  (SL) vs Joe Root (Eng)

Wanindu Hasaranga  Joe Root England
Wanindu Hasaranga  (SL) vs Joe Root (Eng)

Joe Root, the English batsman has made a name for himself and when it comes to the longest format he is the big fish. The Lankans if are to come on top will know the importance of his wicket and they would are likely to have done a lot of homework on the 30-year old. 

Sri Lanka have a budding star in the form of Wanindu Hasaraga, the all-rounder announced himself at the Lanka Premier League recently and there has no going back since then.

Prediction

The England team will be without their frontline all-rounder- Moeen Ali. Said that they do have a very strong and experienced line-up. The conditions will be in the favor of the Lankans as the foreign players do not enjoy the low bounce in the sub-continent. 

Sri Lanka though will be facing one of the best units in the world and getting past would not be an easy task. The toss will play a crucial part as the team batting first have a high percentage chance to come on top.

Lankans are still in the team formation stage and the players are only learning their roles. Given the fact that the Lankans have been finding it difficult to win matches and the fact the reformed team is just in their budding stages, the visitors hold the advantage in this encounter.

Cricwizz predicts England to win the 1st Test