West Indies vs Sri Lanka: Second Test Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Sri Lanka will be looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat when they take on the West Indies in the second of three Tests. 

The Windies were impressive in the series opener, taking a vital one-nil lead in the three-match affair. They can't afford to relent against spirited opposition, though.

Sri Lanka were solid in fits and starts, but couldn't string together enough passages of sustained pressure. This sort of stamina will be in high demand in St Lucia.

West Indies vs Sri Lanka | 14 June - 18 June | Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium

To Win Match
West Indies 27/20
Draw 33/10
Sri Lanka 27/20

West Indies
The hosts gelled well in the first Test, where the inadequacies of some individuals were overshadowed by the success of the collective. It's these sorts of inspired performances that reminds one of the Windies of old - and plays into the hope that they'll eventually rise to their former glory again. For now, though, the task at hand is to win the second match.

The resilience shown by the middle- to lower-order after both openers failed in the first innings spoke volumes of the home side's willingness to fight. Jason Holder praised his lower-order's ability with the bat, but will know full well it's Devon Smith and others that need to be delivering the big runs on cue. Smith managed just 23 runs in his comeback Test.

On a spin front, Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase were outstanding in combination. While conditions weren't quite subcontinental-esque, they required the bowlers to be an appropriate support act to the seamers. Shannon Gabriel and company won't be able to bowl all the overs, of course, so Bishoo and Chase will be as key now as they were then.

The West Indies have only won one Test at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, while Sri Lanka have never lost here. The teams, in fact, contested the maiden Test at this venue, when it was still named Beausejour Stadium. That was all of 15 years ago, but the same themes - bat first if triumphant at the toss, complement three seamers with two spinners - remain.

Sri Lanka
Dinesh Chandimal rightly admitted that the Sri Lankans were far from their best in the series opener. They won't likely make wholesale changes, but it's likely Dhananjaya de Silva will return to the XI - and Roshen Silva fall out. This will afford Chandimal the opportunity to bat lower than three in the order, where his attacking style will be more accommodated.

They can take a lot from the solid performances of Lahiru Kumara and Lahiru Gamage - and there's certainly a lot to build on there. The traditional action of one complements the front-on delivery of the other - in conditions conducive to the extra bounce generated. Veteran spinner Rangana Herath, meanwhile, has to be a stronger attack leader than he was last week.

Angelo Mathews, as always, will be instrumental - provided he shakes off the rust endured in Port of Spain. The former captain seemed a bit off colour, attacking in part but never genuinely following through. He, too, had a couple of good starts - and has to go further, hopefully as far as three figures, if Sri Lanka are to win.

In direct contrast to the Windies, the Sri Lankans weren't able to elevate their mental capacity and physicality in the opening fixture. The follow-up match is the ideal time to do so, particularly if they are to avoid slipping below Pakistan and Bangladesh - and perhaps even the West Indies - in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.

Verdict: Sri Lanka 27/20
One trusts Mathews and company will find enough within themselves to take this one, building on the few highlights from the series opener to ensure the third Test isn't rendered a deadrubber. 

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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