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Sunday, 25 March 2012

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Galle wicket a result-oriented one :

Sri Lanka out to spank England

GALLE, March 24 - The first of two Test matches between Sri Lanka and England beginning at the Galle International Stadium on Monday will be played on a result-oriented wicket. A glimpse at the wicket shows that curator Jayananda Warnaweera has done a lot of work on the strip, and got into top condition, where the team playing the more aggressive and disciplined cricket will finally emerge victorious.

The previous Test match played at this venue against Australia ended in disaster for Sri Lanka losing the game inside the distance and with match referee former England opener Chris Broad complaining to the ICC that the wicket was of poor quality.

Wicket fit for cricket

That is history now and this time round Warnaweera has burnt the midnight oil and seen to it that a wicket fit for cricket and result-oriented has been prepared to last the full five days and at the end of the game, it will be cricket lu'verly cricket in Galle where I saw it and enjoyed it.

With the present dry weather prevailing, the possibility is that the wicket will take spin as the Test progresses. In the circumstances, the side winning the toss will certainly be at an added advantage and must bat first.

Sri Lanka will not name the playing eleven till they have a look at the conditions and the wicket. But the gut feeling is that they will go in with six batsmen and a wicket keeper who can bat, two pacemen and two spinners.

Likely playing eleven

To hazard a guess then the playing eleven will be - Mahela Jayawardena, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitarne, Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardena, Chamara Silva, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chanaka Welegedera and Suranga Lakmal.

The Sri Lanka cricketers who have feasted on one-day cricket in the recent past will have to quickly adjust to the longer version of the game. This game requires a different technique, temperament and the ability to last longer. It will be interesting to see how the Lankans will go.

Jayawardena who took over the captaincy when the game was in the basement in both versions, turned the fortunes round in the tri series in Australia by performing magnificently and entering the best of three finals.

To the top

Although he did not have a satisfying run in the Asia Cup, will be determined to take the game to the top in the longer version starting by demolishing the high riding England team led by Andrew Strauss.

The selectors have given him a formidable and well balanced squad. If each player believes and performs the way we know they can, then there is no reason why they should not draw first blood and dominate the Two Test series.

Batsmen Tillakertne Dilshn, Tharanga Paranavitarne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva and Prasanna Jayawardena must make it a point to score runs, while the bowlers - pacemen Chanaka Welegedera and Suranga Lakmal and spinners Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv must get among the wickets.

Clueless against doosra

The England batsmen were running scared and clueless against the doosra specialist Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, so much so that they even queried and reported his action to the ICC who cleared the bowler. Sri Lanka also has a doosra specialist in Suraj Randiv and he could lure the England batsmen to their destruction.

England won their two practice games without raising a sweat. But that does not mean that they cannot be beaten. Their top order batsmen Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara have all been in the runs.

James Anderson will spearhead the England new ball attack with Stuart Broad or either Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan for support. Spin will come in the form of off spinner Graeme Swann and left armers Monty Panessar and Samit Patel.

The Decision Review System (DRS) will be used for the two-Test series. However, the 'Hot Spot technology' will not be available, making Snickometer the only tool to support decisions on catching.

Over then to picturesque Galle and for an interesting game of Test cricket which is what the game is all about.

The teams:

SRI LANKA (from): Mahela Jayawardena (Captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitarne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene , Chamara Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Chanaka Welegedera, Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath.

ENGLAND (from): Andrew Strauss (Captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Steven Davies, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, James Tredwell and Monty Panesar.

Field umpires: Asad Rauf and Rod Tucker.

Third umpire: Bruce Oxenford .

ICC Match Referee: Javagal Srinath (India).

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