The Oval could test Sri Lankan batsmen


Dimuth Karunarathne will be looking for back to back wins

By Rex Clementine

After a comprehensive win in the opening Test match against New Zealand in Galle, Sri Lanka are faced with an uphill task in the second Test match that gets underway at the P. Sara Oval today. The Oval usually offers assistance to batsmen, seamers and spinners alike and our batsmen have been exposed by quality fast bowling in the last few years here.

Since 2009, Sri Lanka have played seven Tests at The Oval and lost five games. One of those defeats came against New Zealand in 2012 when Tim Southee took eight wickets and Trent Boult claimed seven. This was after Sri Lanka had won the opening game in Galle. Southee and Boult will share the new ball today and possibly New Zealand could play the third seamer in Neil Wagner.

Wagner claimed nine wickets in New Zealand’s last Test match but was overlooked in Galle as they relied heavily on spin bowling. Mitchell Santner is expected to make way for him.

Sri Lanka of course will have no choice but bring in off-spinner Dilruwan Perera in place of Akila Dananjaya, whose action was reported by match officials for a second time after the Galle Test. Dananjaya was bowling with a remodeled action after he was first reported in November last year. Technically, he can play the second Test, but SLC has opted to send him to Madras for testing instead . Dananjaya faces a lengthy 12 month suspension from cricket.

Sri Lanka will move up to number five of the ICC Test rankings ahead of Australia if they win the second Test.

After a relatively easy win in Galle, Sri Lankan batsmen’s resolve will be tested at The Oval. Their seamers – Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara too will enjoy the conditions and a mouthwatering contest is on the cards over the next five days.  

New Zealand (From)

Kane Williamson (Captain), Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, William Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Trent Boult,  Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel and Neil  Wagner.

Sri Lanka (From)

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando.

Umpire:  Michael Gough and Bruce Oxenford (Australia)

Third Umpire: Richard Illingworth (England)

Match Referee:  Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)

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