Rain Threatens to spoil Galle test

Published : 9:49 am  October 14, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (464) reads | 

galle2By Champika Fernando reporting from Galle
The weather will hold sway in Galle, if it behaves as predicted over the next five days. But Sri Lanka and West Indies, two teams in transition, will be looking to find their next generation of cricketers when the first of the two-match Test series kicks off at the Galle International Cricket Stadium today.

Intermittent heavy rains are predicted as the monsoon blows off the island, threatening to spoil both the match and the series which goes on till November. Still, the players are upbeat.
The two-match series is played for the Sobers-Tissera Trophy in honour of former West Indies great Sir Garfield Sobers and Michael Tissera, a former Sri Lanka skipper during the pre-Test era.

Sri Lanka are playing their first series without Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, two iconic cricketers who had held the team together for over 15 years. West Indies are without Chris Gayle, the man who scored a triple (333) when he last played here four years ago.

Sri Lanka had struggled to get its team composition right with Upul Tharanga and Jehan Mubarak failing to cement their places during the Pakistan and India series. The side will hope their misfiring batters take guard against an evenly matched team. However, the biggest blow would be if skipper Angelo Mathews sits it out with a calf injury in his left leg.

“I am not too sure whether I can play tomorrow, leave alone bowling,” Mathews said, while leaving the pre-match press conference. “I’ve had this for a couple of days and I hope all be good by tomorrow. He limped off the stairs. With Tharanga and Mubarak out, Milinda Siriwardana and Kusal Mendis, two uncapped cricketers, have been drafted into the side. But Siriwardana, who smashed a brilliant century in the practice match three days ago, is likely to make his Test debut. The left-hander has been impressive with the bat as he has scored over 1000 runs in the recent first class season.

“There’s not going to be too many changes to be honest. In the batting department we’ve got only one change. The no. 6 slot is open. Either Kusal or Milinda will come in, and Milinda is a strong contender to bat at 6.,” skipper Mathews told journalists.
“Milinda has the edge over Kusal because he got a hundred in the last practice game. He’s been in really good nick so he deserves a call up as well. Kusal has also been a good talent. Whoever gets the call up I’m sure they’ll grab it both hands.” he added.

Sri Lanka will persist with vice-captain Lahiru Thirimanne at No 3 hoping that the misfiring left-hander start firing at the top of the order while Kusal Janith Perera will take the gloves allowing Dinesh Chandimal to concentrate on batting.
“It was a bit of a concern in the recent past, but we continue to have faith in him. We know he’s a very good player. He has  played the game for quite a long time, so we are pretty much sure he’ll come good in this series,” Mathews responded when asked about Thirimanne’s batting form.

At 38, Rangana Herath will be Sri Lanka’s first choice spinner with Tharindu Kaushal to support while Dhammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep will make up the two-man pace attack, leaving Suranga Lakamal out.  “We trust that PHT Kaushal will be someone who serves Sri Lanka for a long time, given the way he’s bowled in the past. As a team, and as a captain, I can give him that trust and play him. I have no issues with playing him in this match.” Mathews explained. Kaushal who was reported for a suspected bowling action during the Indian series was cleared to bowl his off-spins but not his doosra.

For the West Indies this is their best chance to win a series in Sri Lanka and skipper Jason Holder is confident that his young guns would fire. “The hardest thing so far was adapting to the heat we’ve done that pretty nicely. Obviously in the Caribbean its pretty hot certain times of the year, we try and embrace and enjoy as much as possible,” Holder said.

Sri Lanka Probable team: Angelo Mathews (Capt.), Lahiru Thirimanne (Vice-capt), Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Milinda Siriwardana, Kusal Perera (wicketkeeper), Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep,
West Indies squad: Jason Holder(Captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (Vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajindra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin , Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrica