West Indies vs Sri Lanka: Third Test Preview

Batsman plays shot off back foot

We preview the third and final Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka set to get underway on Saturday 23 June. 

The ball-tampering furore that surrounded the second Test will effectively overshadow the third, but the Caribbean's first ever day-night Test can expect a solid contest regardless.

The Sri Lankans did enough to force a draw in Gros Islet, where the Windies were not as strong as they were in Port of Spain's series opener. While the hosts can't lose the series, they won't want to draw it after leading.

West Indies vs Sri Lanka | 23 June - 27 June | Kensington Oval, Bridgetown 

To Win Match
West Indies 13/10
Draw 31/10 
Sri Lanka 29/20

West Indies
First things first, the West Indians will want to rectify their batting shortfalls of the second Test - and rekindle the formidable performance displayed in the series opener. Far too many batsmen got starts but failed to convert in St Lucia, where the Sri Lankans didn't have to fight as hard for their wickets as they did a week prior.

The Windies will be without Shimron Hetmyer, who has been sidelined by illness. Keemo Paul has been called up as a replacement - and the 20-year-old fast bowler could find himself catapulted to the frontline attack. It wouldn't be untoward to see him selected ahead of Miguel Cummins. Shannon Gabriel, meanwhile, is in the form of his life on the back of a 13-wicket haul - and needs a fitting follow-up.

Devendra Bishoo is tipped for a good performance, too. Leg-spinners, under lights, have a tendency to skid the ball on a bit more. South Africa's selection of Tabraiz Shamsi for their day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide a couple of years ago is a case in point. That's not to take away from the role of Roston Chase, though - the finger spinner's role will be as vital, too.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka have played a day-night Test previously, against Pakistan in Dubai. Several of their current squad featured in that tight victory in 2017 - and will be key to dictating proceedings this time. They will, of course, be without captain Dinesh Chandimal. He has been suspended for ball-tampering for one match.

Who leads the line in his place, though, remains in the balance. Suranga Lakmal and Rangana Herath are the contenders. Fast bowlers hardly ever captain teams these days - and Herath was dropped for the second Test. Either way, Sri Lanka will find it tough to justify the decision - and adapt to the absence of arguably their best batsman.

The venue for the series decider has only yielded two draws in its last 10 Tests, which bodes well for an outright win. The Windies have triumphed in three of their last four matches here, but in the 15 before that only managed three victories. This will be Sri Lanka's first Test at Kensington Oval, and a pioneering day-night outing at that.

Verdict: West Indies 13/10
While Sri Lanka have the experience of a day-night Test win, they're too unsettled to force a drawn series against a West Indian outfit increasingly high on confidence.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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