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Sri Lanka is getting ready for a return to international cricket against England after a bit of a prolonged layoff. This series marks the beginning of a long Asian sojourn for England as they travel to India after this and will be an excellent experience for when they travel to Pakistan later in the year.
While England has had trouble in Asia in the past, its record against Sri Lanka is pretty good and it has a 3-0 victory on its last tour to give it confidence. That was a series that embarrassed the Sri Lankans. They are not used to losing at home to European countries and would be smarting for some payback.
Sri Lanka has just been soundly beaten by South Africa and will be hoping for a better result in familiar conditions.
Sri Lanka vs England 1st Test Match is going to be played at the Galle International Stadium, Galle starting on the 14th of January 2021.
The downturn of Sri Lankan cricket has been pretty dramatic and it is safe to say that the team is not the force it was a decade ago. Once considered a force at home, Sri Lanka has failed to win three out of the four previous test series it has hosted at home.
That includes a 3-0 loss to England as well.
Sri Lanka is also dealing with a number of injuries to its players that will affect the team balance a bit. Things are looking tough but if there is one place that you will not want to count out the Sri Lankans then it is while playing at home.
Galle is where we have seen the best of Sri Lanka in the past and this is where the team would want to stage a comeback of sorts.
There are obviously going to be some changes from the side that played against South Africa. We think two or even three spinners are going to play while Angelo Matthews looks set to return to the batting.
That means the batting could include Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Matthews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dasun Shanaka. This is a pretty good lineup in home conditions and should not be underestimated.
Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, and, Wanindu Hasaranga all look likely to play the first match while Suranga Lakmal may be the line pacer with support from the all-rounders.
HDRL Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Wanidu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando.
England has decided to rest Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer for this series while Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have been ruled out due to struct COVID-19 protocols. Rory Burns is also going to be missing as he awaits the arrival of his baby.
That means England is going to be a pretty depleted side when it takes on England. Expecting it to dominate Sri Lanka as it did in the previous series is going to be pretty optimistic.
There is still plenty of talent in the lineup, though.
Jonny Bairstow is expected to make a comeback into the team and Dan Lawrence is all but certain to make his debut. There are a lot of changes for England to work with and it is not going to be easy.
Dom Sibley has had a rough start to his career and will be tested against high-quality soin. Zak Crawley and Joe Root are the players that we think will have the most impact while Sam Curran is going to be a big factor down the order as well.
Jos Buttler is a naturally aggressive batsman against spin and could be pivotal in keeping the Sri Lankan bowlers under pressure.
The bowling attack is set to have Jack Leach and Dominic Bess as the leading spinners but there is a chance that a third spinner from the reserves may be picked as well.
Mark Wood, Sam Curran, and one out of Stuart Broad or Jimmy Anderson are likely to play in the first match.
England is filled with quality, but it is playing in very different conditions, and we think it could be in for a very tough time here.
Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Jonny Bairstow, JE Root, Daniel Lawrence, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Dominic Bess, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.
There is no doubt that the team that wins the toss is going to want to bat first. Winning the toss and batting should be seen as a big advantage!
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The pitch at Galle looks to be very dry and will remain so even though there is some rain predicted on most days of the test match. That means you can expect a test match that goes through very quickly. Scoring runs is going to be tough and wickets will fall quickly.
The spinners are going to dominate with the fast-bowlers only serving as supporting acts.
We think Sri Lanka has a good chance of springing a surprise on England in this match. The surface at Galle looks tailor-made for the home team and the absence of some key England players makes things tougher for the tourists.
Also, Galle has not seen a draw in the previous five test matches played here and so even with time lost because of rain, we expect a result to be achieved.
Bet on Sri Lanka to win.
We think this is where the match is going to be won or lost. Getting a first-inning lead is crucial and Sri Lanka has a great chance of doing so. England is going to be under pressure and getting used to the spinning track is not going to be easy immediately.
The odds on Sri Lanka are pretty attractive at the moment.
This is a risky play but the reward makes it worth it. You can get 5.5x times your stake by taking this bet. A spinning wicket where wickets are expected to fall quickly is one where scoring runs is very difficult. This could be a match where runs are hard to come by and no player gets past three figures.
We think this is worth the risk for sure.
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