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Will England Clinch Test Series Win Over Sri Lanka In Kandy?

November 13, 2018

England ended a two-year drought without a Test win overseas by defeating Sri Lanka in Galle in the opening match of the series.

The Three Lions were grateful to the performance of debutant Ben Foakes for digging them out of a tough position in the first innings. Foakes, who played in the absence of the injured Jonny Bairstow, scored a maiden Test century to guide his team to a solid first-innings total of 342 after arriving at the crease at 103-5.

Joe Root’s men took control of the contest, bowling out Sri Lanka for 203 in their first innings. Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach played a pivotal role, with the latter claiming four wickets with his off-spin. Keaton Jennings then displayed a clinical edge to put the home side to the sword, scoring his second Test match century to England into a commanding lead.

Sri Lanka succumbed to a heavy defeat as Ali and Leach ran through the order to allow the tourists to claim a comfortable 211-run victory. Dinesh Chandimal’s men need a response in the second Test at Kandy, while England will be looking to wrap up an overseas series victory for the first time since 2016 when they defeated South Africa.

Will England defeat Sri Lanka again?

Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman

The home side’s batsmen were exposed in the opening match of the series as their top order failed to fire. James Anderson for once was not the architect of England’s success with the ball as Ali, Leach and Rashid were able to claim the wickets that drove the tourists to victory. A lot was expected of Dimuth Karunaratne at the top of the innings after his brilliant series against South Africa. However, the opener failed to fire for his team. The one player that was able to come to the fore was former skipper Angelo Mathews. Mathews is a class act with the bat, although his skills with the ball have diminished with age.

The 31-year-old attempted to hold his team together in the middle order. He made two solid half-centuries, but could not go on to get the big score that the home team required. Mathews has a good record against England, averaging 49.50, and will be desperate to continue his form. At Kandy he has not performed to the peak of his powers, although Mathews did notch a secondary at the ground in 2015 against Pakistan. Sri Lanka need him at his best to attempt to get back into the series. Back him to top score at 4/1  with Bet365.

England’s Top Batsman

The Three Lions displayed familiar vulnerabilities with the bat on the first day of the contest in Galle. At 103-5 they would have been fearing the worst, only to be bailed out by a fantastic display by Foakes on his debut. The performance of the Surrey man in foreign conditions was outstanding as he notched his maiden hundred in his first knock for his country. Foakes’ display has ousted Bairstow from the team for now, providing valuable competition for places in the batting ranks. Although Foakes’ performance was the vital role in England’s victory, Jennings’ form would have been slightly more pleasing to the selectors. He notched the highest run total in the match, including his century in the second innings.

The 26-year-old has been maligned for his form over the summer as he struggled for runs at the crease. However, he proved a point with a brilliant knock to take the game away from Sri Lanka after previously scoring 46 in the first innings. England needed him to step up following Alastair Cook’s retirement. Jennings now needs to maintain his form for the rest of the series to ensure that he solidifies his place at the top of the order. Back him to lead the run column at odds of 9/2  with Betway.

Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler

Rangana Herath’s send off in his final Test match did not go to plan for the veteran spinner, although he did claim three wickets. Sri Lanka now have the challenge of replacing the left-armer and his consistency in the middle. Matters have become more complicated in that aspect as Akila Dananjaya has been reported to the ICC for an illegal bowling action. Dananjaya has produced a number of promising performances for Sri Lanka during his short career, but he could now be forced into changing his action. Whether that has an effect on the 25-year-old at Kandy could play a decisive role in the result.

It heaps pressure on Dilruwan Perera to bear the burden of Sri Lanka’s bowling attack. He along with Suranga Lakmal did have England on the back foot in Galle, but the lack of pressure outside of the two bowlers allowed the tourists off the hook. Perera took seven wickets in the contest, including five in the first innings. The 36-year-old did find enough turn to trouble the England batsmen. He has enough talent and nous to thrive again, despite not having the best record at Kandy in his two matches to date. Take Perera to back up his performance from the opener at odds of 2/1  with Bet365.

England’s Top Bowler

The pressure was been eased off the shoulders of Anderson by England’s spinners in the opening match of the series. Root and the selectors put faith in Ali, Leach and Rashid and were rewarded after making the decision to leave Stuart Broad out of the side. Ali took centre stage for the tourists, claiming eight wickets in the match.

The 31-year-old has struggled to find his best form with the ball away from home, but his average trending downwards towards the mid-thirties. Ali took his 150th Test wicket in the first Test – an achievement that may have seemed unlikely when he was thrust into the team in 2014 as a part-time spinner.

Leach looked right at home in his second Test match. He was solid enough on his debut against New Zealand, but in advantageous conditions Leach was able to thrive, claiming five wickets in the match. The Somerset bowler will be aiming to take his game to the next level by dominating in Kandy. Back Leach to lead the wicket column for the Three Lions at odds of 33/10  with 888Sport.

Match Verdict

England put forward a statement in the opening match and will now be desperate to secure their first series win overseas since the early months of 2016. Sri Lanka’s lack of depth in their bowling line-up was exposed as the Three Lions were able to dig themselves out of trouble.

Without Herath and with Dananjaya potentially compromised, the home side’s options with the ball are further diminished. The tourists played the turning ball well enough and have a threat with their spinners along with Anderson and Sam Curran to claim the win at odds of 21/20  with Betway.

Tips Summary

England To Beat Sri Lanka 2nd Test
Wednesday 14th November 2018 04:30 GMT
Odds: 21/20

Angelo Mathews To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 14th November 2018 04:30 GMT
Odds: 4/1

Dilruwan Perera To Be Sri Lanka’s Top Bowler
Wednesday 14th November 2018 04:30 GMT
Odds: 2/1

Keaton Jennings To Be England’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 14th November 2018 04:30 GMT
Odds: 9/2

Jack Leach To Be England’s Top Bowler
Wednesday 14th November 2018 04:30 GMT
Odds: 33/10

  • cricket
  • Dinesh Chandimal
  • England
  • Joe Root
  • sri lanka

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.