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by Alastair Symondson Thursday 22 November 2018
Sri Lanka have been a bit listless on the field and have lacked the sting that was characteristic of them in the recent times, especially in home conditions.
The departure of Rangana Herath has been a big blow for them from which they have not yet recovered. In the absence of regular captain Dinesh Chandimal, the side is not only missing a leader but their best batsman in the middle order. To increase the woes, Akila Dhananjaya will also miss out on this match after he has been reported for suspicious action.
This puts a lot of responsibility on the veteran Angelo Mathews who has compiled three half-centuries in the first two matches. Dimuth Karunaratne is a part of the top 10 batsmen in the ICC Test rankings. Although he has also scored two 50s, both of these batsmen have to pick up their game as Sri Lanka would need a lot more than just fifties to make a comeback in the last match.
Everything seems to be falling in place for England. New guys in Ben Foakes and Jack Leach have settled into the unit beautifully. Moeen Ali has been the highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets while Jack Leach is a close second with 13. Adil Rashid has only picked up seven till now but can well turn out to be the game changer at Colombo. James Anderson and Sam Curran have not had too much to do but have been tidy in their limited scope.
After England cleaned up Sri Lanka in the 2nd Test, coach Trevor Bayliss had some kind words for Joe Root. Root would now like to meet the expectations with another clinical leadership outing.
Let's have a look at the probable playing XIs of both teams.
Sri Lanka- Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Malinda Pushpakumara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal (c)
England- Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes (wk), Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad
Who will win? – England
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) –Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Keaton Jennings (England)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Dilruwan Perera (Sri Lanka), Moeen Ali (England)
Most Fours – Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka), Joe Root (England)
Team Scores Batting at the end of Day 1 – England 250+ for 5, Sri Lanka 230+ for 4,
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
©Cricket World 2018