Sri Lanka vs England: First Test Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

Sri Lanka will be hoping that favourable Sub-Continent conditions will favour them when they face a stacked English side at Galle.  

Sri Lanka may have struggled in the shorter format, but are expected to come out on top in the Test matches, provided the weather plays along.

England need to find a replacement for Alastair Cook as soon as possible and that process begins in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka vs England | 6 November - 10 November | Galle International Stadium

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 7/4
Draw 27/20
England 9/4

Sri Lanka
While England are getting used to life after Alastair Cook, Sri Lanka will be looking to replace veteran spinner Rangana Herath after this series. Mystery tweaker Akila Dananjaya is the man expected to lead Sri Lanka's spin attack in the years to come.

Sri Lanka have picked three frontline seamers going into the Test encounters, suggesting they are unsure of how the pitches will play during the monsoon season. Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara back up Suranga Lakmal, who has proven that he can be effective in a variety of conditions.

The solidity and sheer weight of runs from Dimuth Karunaratne have been a big part of Sri Lanka's competitiveness in the longest format of the game. Karunaratne averages 65.16 in Test cricket in 2018 after a 2017 where he scored 1031 runs.

Dinesh Chandimal returns to lead the side, having been suspended after his angry reaction to being accused of ball-tampering in the Caribbean saw him banned for the Test series against South Africa. He will also provide some much-needed experience to the middle order.

England
England are likely to persist with Keaton Jennings for at least the first Test of the series - and Rory Burns is favoured to form a new opening partnership alongside the man who knows that only bags of runs can save his international career after a dismal home season.

Joe Denly impressed in the T20I, having originally only been selected for the Test matches, but he may have to wait for an opportunity unless Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss use him in the middle order.

Skipper Root will have a big task on his hands trying to lead the England batting in spin-friendly conditions, especially with Jonny Bairstow in doubt for the series opener.

Bairstow's injury means that Jos Buttler will likely be afforded the gloves again, though Ben Foakes was added to the squad as wicketkeeping cover.

Stuart Broad's place in the side may come into question should England opt for two specialist spinners. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid and left-armer Jack Leach could both play alongside off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali, leaving limited room for Broad, especially given Leach's lack of batting ability.

Verdict: Sri Lanka 7/4
England's spin woes should give the hosts a clear edge, but disruptive weather could yet have a big say.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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