Thu, 19 Sep 2019

Pace-friendly P Sara in focus as Sri Lanka eye 2-0

ESPNCricInfo
22 Aug 2019, 04:42 GMT+10

New Zealand LWWWD

In the spotlight

Trent Boult picked up seven wickets in his only match at the P Sara Oval. Having already troubled Sri Lanka's batsmen on as pace averse a pitch as possible in Galle, he'll be licking his lips at the prospect of squaring up to Sri Lanka's top order again.

Dimuth Karunaratne could not have asked for a better start to his Test career as captain. Three wins out of three, and a team that is fast gelling under his leadership. But he will know better than most how fragile a foundation this new found success has been built on. On a surface on which scores in excess of 400 and sub-200 are all possibilities, Karunaratne's guiding hand at the top of the order will be crucial to the overall productivity of Sri Lanka's batsmen.

Team news

Fit again, Dilruwan Perera will very likely come into the side in place of the still green Lasith Embuldeniya.

Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk) 7 Dhananjaya De Silva, 8 Dilruwan Perera, 9 Akila Dananjaya 10 Lahiru Kumara 11 Suranga Lakmal

For New Zealand, fast bowler Neil Wagner could come in, though it remains to be seen if it'll be at the expense of one of the spinners or the quicks.

New Zealand: 1 Jeet Raval, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Ajaz Patel, 9 Will Somerville/Neil Wagner, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Tim Southee

Pitch and conditions

The pitch traditionally has more in it for the quicks, with a fair amount of pace and bounce, and back-bending effort is more often than not rewarded. However if the rain stays away and the pitch dries up, expect the spinners to come into play as the Test wears on.

Stats and triviaQuotes

"I think this pitch will suit the batsmen and fast bowlers more than the Galle surface did. I think there will be more runs here from both teams than there was in Galle."

Niroshan Dickwella knows a thing or two about the P Sara pitch

"In these conditions if you get yourself in you need to keep going and take the game as deep as possible. We're probably guilty of that throughout the [first] Test match. Hopefully we can go a lot bigger here."

BJ Watling rues letting the initiative slip in the first Test

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