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Sri Lanka Test tour of Zimbabwe: Preview, Match Schedule, Team Squads and Series Predictions

Dimuth Karunaratne

All you need to know about Sri Lanka's two-match Test series against Zimbabwe as the hosts return to international red-ball cricket after a gap of 26 months.

After being suspended by the ICC in July 2019, the suspension was lifted from Zimbabwe Cricket in October last year. However, that cost them a couple of series that had been scheduled earlier.

It seems like the team will get some much-needed international cricket in the form of these two Tests against Sri Lanka, followed by a one-off Test against Bangladesh next month.

Since their return from Test exile in 2011, Zimbabwe have registered four victories, one draw and 19 losses. Some of their defeats, especially while touring, have been far too one-sided. That said, the team has not been without a silver lining which include wins against Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The last Test series that they played was against Bangladesh which was tied at 1-1. Interestingly, in the last Test between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, the former were embroiled in a fierce battle which the hosts lost by a narrow margin of four wickets.

Sri Lanka, who are coming off a 0-1 Test defeat, have announced a similar squad that competed against Pakistan in a two-match Test series. Asitha Fernando had come into the side as a replacement for Suranga Lakmal who had suffered dengue. With the pacer back to full fitness, Lakmal is back in the squad and will lead the Sri Lankan bowling attack.

Another notable point about their Test squad is is the absence of Kusal Perera who led them to a historic Test win against South Africa last year. However, his form has torpedoed since then. Sri Lanka's chief selector Ashantha de Mel has revealed that his absence is due to the availability of all three of Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, which does not leave a place for the gloveman.

"Kusal is a good player, we know that. However if Kusal was going to play in this series, he would not do the wicket-keeping. Niroshan Dickwella is going to be behind the stumps. In a situation like that, we will have to remove either Dinesh Chandimal or Angelo Mathews. However the captain and the coach wanted to play both of them, in order to stabilize the team," de Mel said.

After Hamilton Masakadza has announced his retirement and assumed the Director of Cricket role at Zimbabwe Cricket, all-rounder Sean Williams will lead the Zimbabwe Test side. The biggest setback for them is the absence of Tendai Chatara, who has not fully recovered from his bicep injury.

Kyle Jarvis would be their prime wicket-taker while Brendan Taylor is expected to score the most runs for the team. Apart from the inclusion of five debutantes, the series will also mark the return of Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Kyle Jarvis and Regis Chakabva to Test cricket.

Both Test matches will be held at the Harare Sports Club, with the series kicking off on January 19.


Series Predictions

 Winner -  Sri Lanka (2-0)

Top Run Scorer -   Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)

Top Wicket Taker -  Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka), Kyle Jarvis (Zimbabwe)

Most Sixes - Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka), Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)


Here are the squads of both teams:

Zimbabwe - Sean Williams (captain), Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Kevin Kasuza, Timycen Maruma, Prince Masvaure, Brian Mudzinganyama, Carl Mumba, Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma

Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal


Here's the complete schedule of the series:


Sri Lanka tour of Zimbabwe, 2020 – 2 Tests

Jan 19 - 23 Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka 1st Test Harare 8:00 AM

Jan 27 - 31 Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka 2nd Test Harare 8:00 AM

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