Sri Lanka vs England 2018, 2nd Test: Preview and Predicted Playing XI
After crushing the Asian Islanders by 211 runs in the opening game of the three-match Test series in Galle, England will aim for series honours. The hosts Sri Lanka will look to hit back hard and level the series when the two sides lock horns in the second Test at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele which starts on Wednesday, November 14.
Both teams have now faced each other in 32 test matches with the British leading the scoreline 13-8. The rest of eleven matches have ended in draws. While in case of 14 matches played in Sri Lanka, the scoreline is tied at 5-5, with four ending in stalemates.
The win at Galle was England's third consecutive win in Tests. They registered a 4-1 sweep over the Indian side last month and seems quite confident against Islanders side to start this series on a positive note.
Centurians Ben Foakes and Keaton Jennings scored 144 and 192 runs respectively in the opening fixture and the team need them to continue from where they left off in the first test. While skipper Joe Root managed just 38 runs in two innings, he will be eager to shrug off his poor run in this match.
Ben Stokes is coming off a fifty and he along with Jos Buttler and Sam Curran have been reliable figures for England in the middle order. Their only concern will be Moeen Ali's form with the bat as the all-rounder managed just three runs in two innings.
Despite being beaten on the batting front, Moeen Ali had a dream run in bowling. The all-rounder snared a four-fer in both innings of the first test and he is certainly a big threat for the opposition, when in full swing. Jack Leach picked five wickets in the previous test and the pacer looks settled for a similar run in next game.
However, England will be counting on their experienced campaigners Adil Rashid and James Anderson to put their best feet forward and make early inroads into the Sri Lankan batting line-up.
Expected Playing XI
Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Ben Foakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali.
After that confidence-shattering loss in the opening game, the Islanders find themselves under enormous pressure as they will have to prevent a defeat here in order to keep the series alive. And their record at Pallekele makes it even worse; the hosts have managed just one win in their seven fixtures at this venue.
Sri Lankans faces a major blow in this after their skipper Chandimal was ruled out of series due to a groin injury and in his absence, it will be up to Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews to take the additional responsibility and play crucial innings for their team. Karunaratne managed just 30 runs in the opening fixture, while Mathews scored twin fifties last time out.
Except these two they will also need handy contributions from Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis. All failed to make it count in the previous test and it'll be essential that these three come out with their best, else it'll be another cakewalk for the visitors.
In the post-Rangana Herath phase, Sri Lanka's bowling will rely mainly on Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. Interim skipper Lakmal took three wickets in the previous test and he will be leading the pace attack along with Dilruwan, who starred with the ball last time, with a match-haul of seven wickets including a five-fer in first innings. Both these bowlers will be backed by the team to rout the opposition top order.
Sandakan who failed to make an impact in the previous test has a good record at this ground with 12 wickets in 2 tests will be eager to make a comeback in the second Test.
Expected Playing XI
Suranga Lakmal (C), Lakshan Sandakan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera and Akila Dananjaya.