Sri Lanka will be looking for a clean sweep of the two test match series against West Indies when the two teams will meet in the second test today (29) at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. After 187 runs victory in the first test Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and his team will go in to the second test with more confidence as the Galle pitch has already proved more fovourable for the spinners .
In the first test out of the 164.5 overs Sri Lanka bowled, the two seamers Suranga Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera shared only 18 overs between them with spinners doing the bulk of the work on a slow turning pitch, collecting 19 out of the 20 West Indian wickets.
Meanwhile National selectors already have decided to release five players from the national Test squad after the first test Accordingly, Dushmantha Chameera, Roshen Silva, Suminda Lakshan, Asitha Fernando and Kamil Mishara have been released.
The intention is very clear and Sri Lanka is going to bring in a new player for Chameera for the second test .
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said that he was happy with his three spinners Lasith Embuldeniya, Ramesh Mendis and Praveen Jayawickrama, all of whom bowled well in tandem and made his job easy in the first test.
We played two fast bowlers in the first Test because if we had lost the toss, we would have required them,” said Karunaratne, assessing his team’s performance at the end of the first Test .
“As it had rained a lot here, we had a doubt how much the ball would turn on the surface, that’s why we as batsmen took the responsibility that the six batters would put up a big total collectively. Now we have come to realise that even with the rains there is a little grip and turn on the wicket. The little doubt is if we have to bat second whether six batsmen will be sufficient. We will take a decision going forward whether to include an additional batsman for a fast bowler or replace a batsman with another.”
However with this plan Sri Lanka is going to strengthen their batting department by adding Charith Asalanka as a middle order batter.Two players Asalanka and all rounder Chamika Karunaratne are fighting for the vacant place of the team and Asalanka has the edge over Karunaratne. If Asalanka will get the place this will be his debut test. Angelo Matthews also will bowl a few overs with Lakmal. Chamika Karunaratne already played one test against Australia in Canberra in February 2919 also looking for his second test but final decision will be taken shortly before the match starts today .
Karunaratne also said ” We have to improve against spin. We have improved a lot, we are playing the sweep and reverse sweeps shots more often than before, but we have to sharpen them a little bit.
Sri Lanka’s close-in fielders missed quite a few chances that came their way on the fifth and final day as they pressed for victory against impending rain, and the Lankan skipper felt that was another area in which they needed to brush up.
Skipper Karunaratne who was adjudged man of the match at the first test in good form with the bat while experienced batter Mathews who played confidence half century is a plus point for Sri Lanka team.However number three batter Oshada Fernando struggled against spinners in both innings and he has to strike form in this game .
Meanwhile West Indies skipper Kreigg Brathwaite said toss is going to be very crucial and any side is keen to bat first after winning the toss. On this Galle pitch West Indies also plan to make good start with top order batters including Skipper Brathwaite has to play responsible innings to build up the innings. Brathwaite was full of praise for Joshua Da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner, the way they fought at the first test was tremendous. I always believe first innings total is important, and then build pressure.
Sri Lanka already win the first test with having 12 points for the test Championship is expected to get full points to make clean sweep of this series .But weather could be the deciding factor once again .