SL Finished.381 & 126 - 344 & 164/4 ENG
Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Predictions and Match Preview
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Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Predictions and Match Preview

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22.01.2021, 10:00 IST
Galle International Stadium

Playing in the subcontinent is never an easy task for teams who don’t call it home, but England watching them play against Sri Lanka, one would think that England was a nation situated somewhere close by. Not only did they utterly dominate the Lankans in the first innings, but the match as a whole was a breeze for the Britons. This means more to them than one might think, as apart from increasing ICC ratings, it also gives them important World Test Championship points. Sri Lanka on the other hand must be despondent, and badly need a win to bring their own WTC points - and morale - up. A draw would see the visitors win the series, so the Lankans must press for a win. It’s everything or nothing as we head back to Galle for the second Test between Sri Lanka and England, and before the proceedings begin, let’s take a look at the two teams.

Sri Lanka predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match

SL Predicted XI: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Suranga Lakmal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dilruwan Perera, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Embuldeniya, Wanindu Hasaranga.

Losing a home Test this badly is proof of severe lackings or problems within the team, and if you’ve followed Sri Lankan cricket over the last decade, you know exactly what they are. Batting first, no Lankan batsman could reach 30 (Dinesh Chandimal 28, Angelo Mathews 27) in the first innings as they were squashed for a meager 135. When bowling to England, it took them much longer - even on home soil - to bowl the visitors out, with Dilruwan Perera picking up 4 and Lasith Embuldeniya taking 3. 

The Lankans’ second innings went much better - Kusal Perera’s 62, Lahiru Thirimanne’s 111, and Angelo Mathews’ 71 - but it wasn’t enough as they only set the visitors a tiny 74 to win. Despite Lasith Embuldenya’s double-wicket haul, England had no trouble wrapping the match up. 

Sri Lanka Key players

  • Lahiru Thirimanne: Following his century in the second innings, Thirimanne’s batting will hopefully be the foundation on which the rest of the team build.

  • Dinesh Chandimal: The captain needs to use his experience and step his game up. 

  • Lasith Embuldeniya: The young spinner was pretty good the first time around, having gotten rid of England’s top order twice, and will be looked upon for further quality.

  • Dilruwan Perera: Following his 4-for in the first innings, Perera went quiet in the second, but should rise back up in the second match.

England predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match

ENG Predicted XI: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Dan Lawrence.

The English cricket team has no doubt come a long way in the last few years, and their performance on this tour has been emblematic of that. Gone are the subcontinental struggles of yore, and this will also give them plenty of confidence ahead of meeting India after they leave Sri Lanka. When they began bowling in the first innings, they took full advantage of the conditions as Dom Bess bowled some beautiful spin for his five-for. The experienced Stuart Broad also took 3, and they managed to wrap the Lankans up for a very low total. In their own turn to bat, they had a stuttering start, but Joe Root’s mammoth 228 held the entire innings together as Bairstow’s 47 and Dan Lawrence’s 73 boosted it. 

With 421 on the board, the bowlers got busy again, and this time it was Jack Leach with a 5-for, with Bess knocking out another 3 and Sam Curran getting into the action with 2. Given only 73 to chase, there were a few unnecessary dismissals, but Bairstow and Lawrence got the team through with 35 and 21 respectively. 

England Key players

  • Joe Root: No prizes for guessing who England’s most important batsman is.

  • Dan Lawrence: After his solid, mature performance in his debut Test, Lawrence will be expected more of.

  • Dom Bess: Eight wickets in an away Test is no joke, and Bess’ performance will increase his confidence and allow him to do more.

  • Jack Leach: Not to be forgotten, Leach’s 5-for in the second innings made sure the English didn’t have much of a chase - and things could have gotten dicey if they did.

Sri Lanka vs England weather report and pitch conditions

Although the temperature will be pretty pleasant and consistent over the 5 days, the first day has a high chance of thunderstorms coming down from the overcast skies. There may be some rain in the following days, but it shouldn’t be heavy if forecasts are right. Overall, as long as the first day doesn’t get washed out, we should have a full - or nearly full - Test match.

As we’ve said before, batsmen will have a hard time repelling spinners on this pitch. There will be a lot of turn, and things will get worse as the match progresses. Whoever wins the toss will want to bat first, as no team wants to play the fourth innings of a Test on this surface. 

Can the Lankans come back and even out the series? Or will the English get a draw or win to make it their own for some important WTC points? Find out if our Sri Lanka vs England predictions come true starting Friday!

Match Winner:
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SL Top Batsman:
L Thirimanne
ENG Top Batsman:
J Root
SL Top Bowler (Wickets):
L Embuldeniya
ENG Top Bowler (Wickets):
D Bess
Players to score a fifty:
L Thirimanne/D Chandimal/K Mendis (SL), J Root/D Lawrence/J Bairstow (ENG)
Players to score a century:
L Thirimanne/D Chandimal (SL), J Root/D Lawrence (ENG)
Most fours:
Most sixes:
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