The first Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka takes place in Trinidad and begins on Wednesday as the two sides look to draw first blood in the series and take control of things from the earliest stage of proceedings.
We don’t see a lot of Test cricket in the Caribbean these days but we are about to start almost two months of it and it will be interesting to see what progress, if any, the home side have made. Sri Lanka don’t play a lot more so eyes will be on them too.
The last time we saw the West Indies in Test cricket they were losing in New Zealand but we probably shouldn’t judge them for this series on that one because the Kiwis in their home surroundings is a pretty tough tour these days. We did see what they can do in that Test at Headingley last year and that might be a better benchmark to judge them on.
Usually we see the Windies going pretty strong with the ball and a lot of their success or otherwise is determined by what they do with the bat. They have had the England Lions over for a tour during the English winter so the players who played in that, and impressed, should be boosted going into this series.
One of the biggest problems that this Sri Lanka side has is living up to the expectations of what they were able to achieve when they had their global superstars in their ranks. They might get back to those heights one day but we can’t expect that to happen anytime soon. That said there are a couple of talented youngsters that will be a force if they continue to improve.
When they go into conditions where the seamers hold sway Sri Lanka really struggle but they are not likely to encounter such pitches out in the Caribbean so their spinners should be licking their lips and if they can bowl well then they have the batting line up to get the job done. They can’t afford a bad session at any point though.
West Indies are set to go into this match with just the one spinner in Devendra Bishoo while Devon Smith has been recalled to the squad and could feature. Miguel Cummins could be the third seamer.
Sri Lanka will need to make a late decision on whether Dhananjaya de Silva is ready to feature having arrived late. Mahela Udawatte could make his debut in place of the injured Dimuth Karunaratne while the second spinner spot looks to be between Akila Dananjaya or Dilruwan Perera.
I’m going to see how both these sides shape up and begin the series before getting stuck into proceedings but with the match televised in the UK we can keep up to date with everything and bet accordingly as we go along. There is one bet that I like though.
That is the player performance of Roston Chase. Chase has really impressed me whenever he has played in the Caribbean and recently he had a decent series for West Indies A and before that he was excellent for Barbados in the one day competition. He has passed 50 in just over 25% of his innings in Test cricket and if he does that twice here then his 105.5 target will be surpassed. He averages a shade over 65 in the Caribbean with three tons and two 50s in just 12 innings. He also has five wickets in an innings and four in another so his performance levels at home are strong. I expect him to cover this total.
WON – Back R.Chase’s Performance – Over 105.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365