SL Hold Upper Hand on Another Spin Friendly Wicket
By Mustaq Sydeen
Sri Lanka is unlikely to change their strategy and will continue to bank on their spinners rather than fast bowlers when they take on West Indies in the second Test in Galle today. The pitch will favour both batters and spin bowlers. Things are looking really good for the spinners, as seen from statistics in the last few games played in Galle. Wicketkeeper/batter Dinesh Chandimal hinted that considering the pitch and performance of the spinners in the first Test, Sri Lanka will rely more on their spin department, and will probably make one change when they head into the second Test.
“The pitch for the second Test seems a bit drier than for the first Test, and there will be another opportunity for the spinners to play a major role. It was a warm day in Galle today and I think the pitch will once again be a spin friendly surface,” said Chandimal at the prematch briefing. Sri Lanka are heading to the game after making maximum use of home conditions to favour them, and wrapped up a convincing 187- run victory in the first Test.
Their spinners took a combined 19 wickets in both innings, and didn’t provide any chance at all for the West Indians to make a comeback. All eyes will be on Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who led his team from the front with a fabulous knock of 147 runs in the first innings, and 83 in the second. Apart from Dimuth, the likes of senior batters Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal will have to once again click and add some runs from the middle order to take Sri Lanka over the line and wrap up the series. However, Oshada Fernando’s poor form has been a major concern.
He has seemingly been entrusted with the all-important No.3 slot. However, he seems to have a peculiar hang-up about performing in front of his home fans. Oshada first broke on to the scene in Sri Lanka’s now near-mythical Test series win in South Africa, while he was also among Sri Lanka’s better batters in their Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year. However, his home average of 17.42 pales in comparison to his away one of 47.66. He looked largely uncomfortable at the crease in his two outings in the first Test, and Sri Lanka will be hoping for a much better showing this time around.
Sri Lanka is likely to make one change, with Dushmantha Chameera making way for either Charith Asalanka or Chamika Karunarathne. West Indies on the other hand, had no answers to Sri Lanka’s spinners in the first outing. Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva showed some resistance in the second innings, but it didn’t last long as the visitors lost the match by a massive margin. They need to adapt to the spin-friendly conditions very quickly as there is not much time left in this series.
Probable Playing XIs:
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama
West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Shai Hope/Jeremy Solozano, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jomel Warrican, Shannon Gabriel