Can Chandimal-less Sri Lanka turn things around?

West Indies vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test - Preview


Sri Lanka came in-to this series as firm favorites after showing good form in Test cricket, but it seems  a distant thought at present after a loss in the opening Test, players returning home due to personal reasons, injuries and more recently their captain being handed a one match ban after being found guilty of ball tampering.

Read : Keemo Paul earns call-up to Windies squad for third SL Test

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has no time for excuses. A draw or a loss in the final Test will hand the series to West Indies; a series where Sri Lanka was expected to register their maiden win in the Caribbean. Sri Lanka’s place (6th) in the Test rankings is also under threat with a score line of 2-0 to the hosts will see them overtake Bangladesh to the 8th position, while pushing Sri Lanka to 7th.

Read : Chandimal, Mendis,improve ICC rankings

Dinesh Chandimal’s back-to-the-wall century stood out in the first innings with the bat before the Sri Lankan batting came good to a certain extent after an early hiccup in the second innings.

Kusal Mendis has been impressive to watch on this tour so far though Sri Lanka would like to see him make a bigger contribution in their first innings’.

Niroshan Dickwella at no.7 seems to be a good option for Sri Lanka with his ability to add impetus to the innings; just like he did in the second innings of the 2nd Test with an almost run-a-ball half century and a crucial stand with Roshen Silva, who finally found some form before missing out on a half century.

For once, the Sri Lanka seamers are making the headlines. Lahiru Kumara seems to be growing in confidence with every game he plays. Suranga Lakmal has played more of a ‘supporter’ role in this series so far. The most impressive to watch in the last Test was Sri Lanka’s newest fast bowling prodigy, Kasun Rajitha. He was at the batsmen almost all the time with his lines and lengths and he was rewarded with five wickets in the match on debut.

Read : Sri Lanka captain Chandimal suspended for Barbados Test 

Sri Lanka might ponder if to go back to their more successful strategy in the recent past of playing five bowlers including an all-rounder and six batsmen with the top three Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Mahela Udawatte struggling for form.

Rangana Herath is a doubtful starter for the 3rd Test as he had split his web between right hand’s 4th and 5th finger during a practice session held ahead of the match.

Sri Lanka does have the option of including Dasun Shanaka for the all-rounders spot which could give a better balance to the team. Shanaka along with Danushka Gunathilaka arrived as replacements for Angelo Mathews (personal reason) and Lahiru Gamage(injury) who returned back to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka

Probable XI: Kusal Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Rangana Herath 

West Indies

Probable XI : Devon Smith, Kraig Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope,  Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo, Keemo Paul, Shannon Gabriel