Sri Lanka will host England in the final Test of the series on Friday. England has already taken a 1-0 lead, and they are on the verge of creating a history of winning two successive series in Sri Lanka.
Match Timings: Jan 22, 10 AM IST
The World Test Championship is in its final stage, and four sides are fighting for the two spots. England is still at number four, but they have a good chance to finish in the top two. The English side will now end the Sri Lanka tour with a final Test in Galle. Root’s troops outplayed the hosts in the opening Test and earned valuable 60 points for WTC. England cannot afford a loss in this long Asian tour. The outstanding efforts in the first Test give a big edge to the visitors. First, they bowled out Sri Lanka on just 135, the lowest ever total in Galle, and second, Root led from the front by scoring a fine double-century to seal the game with a big lead in the first innings. Sri Lanka fought hard in 2nd innings, but it wasn’t enough. England’s two main spinners Leach and Bess, got 5-fer in the first test, so Sri Lanka cannot avoid these two players. The batting unit was tested in 2nd innings, but England survived the drama. The debutant Lawrence scored 73 runs, and he would be retained in this Test as well until Stokes join the squad in India.
Joe Root had earlier led England to a memorable series win in Sri Lanka when they last toured in 2018/19, and successive series win will give them the first glory of 2021. The series win will also help the English side to gain confidence for the India tour. Moeen Ali is fully fit for this match, and Ollie Pope has also recovered from the shoulder injury. England would rest Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, and Sam Curran from their first Test line-up. Root would give a chance to Anderson, Woakes, and Moeen Ali to prepare for the India series. The trio missed out the first Test.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka needs a comeback win in the second Test, and they showed few glimpses of improvement in the final two innings. The poor batting show in the first innings hurt Sri Lanka throughout the match. They conceded a big lead in the first innings, and it proved costly. Thirimanne scored a fine hundred, and Angelo Mathews scored 71 to take Sri Lanka 359. This collective brilliance from experienced players should take place in both innings. Five players have been released from the bio-bubble. Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Kumara, and Nuwan Pradeep will not participate in this fixture.
Chandimal will continue to lead the Lankan side in Karunaratne's absence. Mendis has been dropped due to his poor form. He made a record of four consecutive ducks in Tests. Previous numbers are not favouring Sri Lanka. The hosts have drawn two-matches Test series with New Zealand, and earlier, they lost to England. The poor form at home is hurting Sri Lanka, and one more time, they lost the opportunity to win the Test series. In recent years, they have only beaten Australia at home in Tests, which is a bad record. Arthur would aim for a good finish in the final test to prepare for the upcoming assignments. They troubled the English side in the last two days of the opening test, and a similar attitude can help them to draw this series.
Galle’s surface provides good assistance to the spin. Batting on the fourth and fifth day would be tough. Any target above 200 will be a mountain to climb. Both sides would prefer to bat first to avoid drama in the fourth innings.
Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Roshan Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando
Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Daniel Lawrence, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Dominic Bess, Jack Leach, Chris Woakes, James Anderson
WTC 2019-21 – M: 4, Runs: 236, Avg: 33.71
WTC 2019-21 – M: 4, Wickets: 16, SR: 83.8
WTC 2019-21 – M: 15, Runs: 1095, Avg: 43.80
WTC 2019-21 – M: 5, Wickets: 18, Avg: 27.05