‘A Tricky Test’ begins in Galle
By Ranjika Perera
Sri Lanka vs. West Indies
* Lahiru Thirimanne opts out from this Sri Lanka Test assignment as he is currently in Australia and is reportedly plans to retire
* Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, and Suranga Lakmal return to action since last April, when Sri Lanka last played a Test
World Test Championship (2021-23):
* First cycle’s champs: New Zealand beat India in June 2021 in the final to win the title
Cycle two – 2021-23:
* Sri Lanka to play three home two-Test series (vs. West Indies, Australia, and Pakistan) and three away two-Test series (vs. Bangladesh, India, and New Zealand)
Sri Lanka have 0 points after 0 matches
* West Indies to play series vs. Pakistan (two Tests, completed), Bangladesh (two), and England (three) at home and vs. Sri Lanka (two), South Africa (two), and Australia (two) away
West Indies have 12 points from one win after two matches
Sri Lanka’s Test match record vs. West Indies:
* Overall: 22 matches / won nine / lost four / nine drawn
* In Sri Lanka: 11 matches / won seven / lost zero / four drawn
* In Galle: three matches / won two / drawn one
* Overall Test record in Galle: 35 Tests; First batting team won 19, Second batting team won 10
The first cricket Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies that starts in Galle today (24) will be a tricky one for both teams, mainly due to the inclement weather and heavy overcast conditions that is predicted to interfere the game.
How the prevailing weather conditions will affect the traditional “spin friendly” nature of the Galle track, particularly during the last couple of days of the match, will be an interesting prospect to watch as five overcast days are forecasted, with the last three of them being expected to be with thunderstorms.
The history of the Galle pitch indicates that batting first will be the ideal option but the present weather might nullify the ‘first-bat and bowl-second’ ploy prompting the two skippers to opt for bowling first after winning the toss.
Jeremy Solozano to debut!
Anyway both sides come into the two-match series — which marks the start of the two-year cycle of the World Test Championship for Sri Lanka — with minimal practice due to last week’s adverse weather which even washed off an entire four-day warm-up match in Colombo.
Sri Lanka is expected to play all their three specialist spinners; Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama (both left-armers), and Ramesh Mendis (right-arm spin all-rounder), a ploy which will make prospective Charith Asalanka to miss a possible Test debut.
From the visitors’ end, they will most likely give Test debut to their 26-year-old left-handed Trinidadian top-order bat Jeremy Solozano.
Sri Lanka (possible):
1. Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), 2. Pathum Nissanka, 3. Oshada Fernando, 4. Angelo Mathews, 5. Dhananjaya de Silva, 6. Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 7. Ramesh Mendis, 8. Lasith Embuldeniya, 9. Suranga Lakmal, 10. Dushmantha Chameera/Lahiru Kumara, 11. Praveen Jayawickrama
West Indies (possible):
1. Kraigg Brathwaite (Capt.), 2. Jeremy Solozano, 3. Nkrumah Bonner, 4. Roston Chase, 5. Jermaine Blackwood, 6. Kyle Mayers, 7. Rahkeem Cornwall, 8. Jason Holder, 9. Joshua da Silva (wk), 10. Kemar Roach, 11. Jomel Warrican/Jayden Seales