Can Sri Lanka avoid whitewash at Lord's?


Rex Clementine reporting from London

This file photo taken on May 13, 2016 shows Kusal Perera playing a shot during a practice session at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Wicketkeeper batsman Kusal Perera is expected to make a return to the side in place of Milinda Siriwardene. ISHARA S.KODIKARA / AFP

Sri Lanka go into the third and final Test here at Lord's facing their first ever whitewash against England. The tourists lost the first Test by an innings and 88 runs at Leeds inside three days before going down by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street inside four days. Angelo Mathews' side will have to improve their game vastly to avoid making this Sri Lanka's

worst tour of England.

There are a few facts that are going in Sri Lanka's favour as the weather in England has improved vastly over the last three weeks. Throughout this week the temperature remained around 25 degrees celsius. During the second Test at Chester-le-Street, the temperature at times fell below double digits.

Middlesex, the home team here at Lord's have drawn all their games this season and this Test could be a high scoring contest.

Sri Lanka's batsmen adopted a positive approach in the second innings of the last Test and posted 475 runs after being forced to follow on. While vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal notched up a century, captain Angelo Mathews, opener Kaushal Silva and Rangana Herath completed half-centuries.

The batsmen on that occasion were more decisive as to which ball to leave, what to defend and when to play a stroke. In puts from former captains Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who are all here in England, have come in handy for the Sri Lankan batsmen.

They have been hard at training the whole of this week and a better show could be expected here.

Sri Lanka have never lost a Lord's Test in the last 25 years. Since 1991, they have played here four Tests and drawn all four. They are yet to win a Test here at Lord's. They came very close to winning in 2002 after Sanath Jayasuriya enforced the follow on. But horrible slip catching during England's second innings saw the game slip away.

Wicketkeeper batsman Kusal Perera is expected to make a return to the side in place of Milinda Siriwardene. The all-rounder twisted his ankle during training on Monday. Fast bowler Shaminda Eranga, who was reported for a suspect bowling action during the second Test is eligible for selection.

Eranga travelled to Leicester to have his action assessed at the Loughborough University. The results will arrive only next week and Eranga is likely to make the final 11.

England, meanwhile, will remain unchanged.

Sri Lanka (Probable XI)

Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep.

England (Probable XI)

Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Joe Root, James Vince, Johnny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

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