About the Match
A rejuvenated English team will look forward to dominate the visiting Sri Lankans when they meet each other for the 1st Investec Test match to be held from 19th May at Leeds. When the islanders had toured England back in 2014, they had hugely enjoyed success but this time around the young and struggling team will need to reinvent itself in order to do well. England, on the other hand, have risen from ashes to put together a side that has consistently delivered to perfection in recent outings; with the home advantage and their feet firmly on the ground, the hosts are definitely clear favourites here.
Alistair Cook is on the cusp of attaining 10,000 runs in Test; he will lead the side confidently and will be eager to reach the milestone in style along with a steady partner like Alex Hales, James Vince or Jonny Bairstow, who can contribute well with the bat. Moeen Ali, Joe Root and all-rounders like Ben Stokes will firm up the middle order and try to build solid partnerships here.
The bowling attack will see speedsters Steve Finn, Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and James Anderson in action and they will be hungry for wickets; medium pacer Jake Ball who is eagerly waiting for his test debut, spinners Nick Compton and Moeen Ali add depth to the attack.
The team has done extremely well in the ODI World Cup earlier this year and they will look to repeat the magic in the longer format of the game too; they have an experienced side with in-form bowlers and batsmen and with their high spirits, England can surely use its resources to come right on top.
Injury issues will cause some worry for captain Angelo Mathews as one of the side’s top bowlers Dhammika Prasad has been ruled out of the first test; however, with experienced spinners like Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera, pacemen Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera and Shaminda Eranga, he will try to bring the best against the buoyant English team. There are explosive youngsters too like all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who makes his test debut and can add variety to the attack along with contributing with the run-flow.
The batting line-up isn’t very strong as players are out of form but they will try to put their best foot forward against the English seamers; youngster Dhananjaya de Silva is also lined up for his test debut and brings his batting skills to the table while wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirmanne, Kaushal Silva and Niroshan Dickwella can bring stability to the middle-order. The top-order batsmen like Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and the captain himself have their work cut out for them and they will need to play a responsible innings here.
Overall, they are a struggling side but do have the capabilities to make a good impression; they must rise up to the challenges of the Test format and prove themselves in this crucial tour.
While Sri Lanka copes with injury problems and will try to make the best possible use of its young resources at hand, England will be eagerly waiting to consolidate their position as a strong Test unit. The contest will definitely see some fireworks but we feel that England is better placed to win