After a pretty turgid opening Test match, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh take to the fields of Pallekele once again on Thursday for the second and final Test of the two game series with both teams knowing they have the chance to win the spoils.
The pitch was the only winner in that first game as a result never looked likely on a 22 yard strip which wouldn’t have been out of place on the M25 but hopefully the fact it got marked down means we’ll have something resembling a cricket wicket for this match and we get a better game as a result.
To be fair to Sri Lanka, they did about as well as they could to try and get a result in that opening game. It is never easy to bat well when a daunting score is on the board even on a road like that one but once they established themselves in the innings it was clear that they fancied going past the Bangladesh total and having done that they just asked a few questions of the tourists, which really was all they could do in the game.
If they are going to get a result out of this match they need to find a way to open an end up with the ball in their hand. They will be hoping there is either a bit more juice in the pitch or that having had the square exposed for five days means that we have a wicket which offers up a lot more turn. If they can find that then you would expect them to be the ones forcing the pace in the game, but anything else and you wonder if they have the firepower.
I would imagine that if you asked Bangladesh what they would have wanted in the first game, they would have said a dead pitch which allowed them to get up to speed in a match which was never really going to yield a result. They now have five days under their belt and are acclimatised to conditions and if they not get a pitch which yields a little more for the bowlers they will be confident that they can deliver the goods.
When Bangladesh arrived in this country the fear was that their batting might need some confidence. They haven’t long been away from New Zealand where albeit in white ball matches, their batsmen were given a good working over. They have that confidence now after three of them scored more than 150 runs in the first game and a couple of others delivered solid efforts. Now if their bowlers can get anything out of the pitch they might just give themselves a chance of a rare away series win.
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Sri Lanka have lost Lahiru Kumara to injury for this match but you would imagine they would have picked a spinner potentially in his place anyway. Ramesh Mendis or Lakshan Sandakan will be battling to replace him.
Bangladesh might well go into this second match of the series unchanged. If they do decide to change anything then it could be that Abu Jayed comes out after not threatening at all in the opening game.
I took the player performance of Dhananjaya de Silva in the first Test when he had a line of 86.5 points and courtesy of a wicket and 166 runs he delivered a total of 186 points. His line has increased for this match but it has only gone up to 94.5 which still feels a little on the low side, especially as he has already shown that he can cover the line in one innings with the bat, and he might even get a second innings here if Sri Lanka bat first.
The other thing that makes me think this line is a bit on the low side is that this pitch will surely offer something to the bowlers which should bring his spin into play. He bowled 41 overs in that first game and was the first spinner utilised on both occasions so there is both the chance he bowls more here and also that the wicket yields more in wicket taking potential. He could well cover this line with the bat but with that wicket potential I’m happy to back the over once again.
Back D.de Silva – Over 94.5pts for a 3/10 stake at 1.73 with Bet365