Third Test at the SSC SL face uphill task as England eye sweep

Published : 12:06 am  November 23, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Coach Chandika Hathurusingha (centre) in conversation with team members during a training session at the SSC Grounds



Sri Lanka and England go head-to-head for the third and final time in their Test series at the SSC Grounds in Maitland Place, today with England 2-0 up and in sight of a rare away series sweep.

It’s been a fantastic result for England – 2-0 already assures them the second spot in the ICC Test Team Rankings irrespective of the outcome of the final game, and it also marks their first win in an away series in Asia since late 2012, when they beat India 2-1. 

In the last two years, in fact, they had won nothing – returning win-less from India, Australia and New Zealand.

Keeping all of that in mind, the result in Sri Lanka is as incredible as it is unexpected, and England have done it with their spinners, beating the home team in their own game.

Moeen Ali tops the wicket-takers’ chart at this stage with 14 strikes the same as Dilruwan Perera but at a superior strike-rate. 

At number three is Jack Leach with 13 wickets, followed by Akila Dananjaya with 10 and Adil Rashid with seven.

Ali and Leach, as well as Rashid, have also struck the more crucial blows, pulling off match-winning spells for their team, which the Sri Lankans haven’t managed to do. Making things worse for Sri Lanka, who bid farewell to Rangana Herath after the first Test, is the fact that Dananjaya won’t be a part of the final Test either, after he was reported for a suspect action. 

Nishan Peiris, the uncapped 21-year-old off-spinner, has been drafted in for Dananjaya.

Turn to the batting, and the Englishmen are top there too, with Ben Foakes up at number one with 228 runs, followed by Keaton Jennings with 219, and after Angelo Mathews’ 213, there’s Joe Root (176) and Jos Buttler (170) completing the top five.

Put it all together, and it’s pretty clear why England have won two Tests and Sri Lanka none – Dinesh Chandimal’s continued absence hasn’t helped the home side either.

England are making two changes for the final Test – Stuart Broad replacing James Anderson, and Jonny Bairstow coming in for the injured Sam Curran.