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Outside the exuberance of T20 Cricket, the longest format of the game is gradually picking its pace. We witnessed a see-saw battle in the series between Pakistan and England which ended recently at 1-1. Up next is Sri Lanka taking on West Indies in a 3-match series beginning on 6th June at Port of Spain. As far as the ICC Test rankings are concerned. Both the teams have been away from Test Cricket and may find it challenging to get going in the longest format of the game. Furthermore, the Test Cricket between the two sides isn't a frequent affair which is emphasized by the fact that this is the first series between the two sides lasting for more than two games.
West Indies last played a Test Series back in December 2017 in which they faced a heavy defeat from New Zealand. However, the selectors have still retained the majority of the squad from that tour. Devon Smith, the experienced 36-year old opener has been a surprising pick for the hosts. He is likely to replace Kieren Powell in the playing eleven as selectors might choose to go with experience in the opening game.
The Windies' batting is youth from top to bottom and they'll need to play maturely on a slow pitch where concentration will be key. Shai Hope was brilliant in the last few series for West Indies and a lot will depend on how he fares in the tournament.
Their bowling looks reasonably good with a nice amalgamation of youth and experience. Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Devendra Bishoo form the backbone of their bowling line-up with skipper Jason Holder more than capable to chip in with wickets. West Indies have been a tough team to beat at home historically and although place at ninth spot in this team certainly good enough to keep it going.
Devon Smith, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel.
Sri Lanka are coming into the series in a bid to extend their good form. They've done incredibly well in the last three series they've played losing only once, to India, in an away match. Their last seven wins include a 2-0 series win against Pakistan in UAE and a home series win against Bangladesh.
Despite coming into the series with good performances behind their back, Sri Lanka does have their share of the problems. Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep are set to miss the tour due to injury, as do the opener Dimuth Karunaratne. Although Dhananjaya de Silva has reached West Indies but is likely to miss the first Test.
The majority of responsibility will rest on the senior-statesmen of the side in Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, and Angelo Matthews. Overall, their batting looks well set with the likes of Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella along with the senior trio of the team. Bowling looks a little thin, but if the conditions are conducive to spin as the case has always been in West Indies, their bowling attack led by Rangana Herath can get threatening.
Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis , Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara.
Batting fourth can be a tough ask on the slow and low wicket of Port of Spain. Batting first will be the way to go for the team winning the toss.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Queen's Park Oval pitch has developed a reputation of a slow and low surface over the time. Batting fourth is not going to be easy and the first couple of days will be the best batting days. There's no rain predicted for the entire duration of the test match and the heat of Trinidad will only make the pitch deteriorate as the match progresses. The first-innings total of around 300 could be really competitive on this pitch.
Sri Lanka is a stronger outfit in white clothing as compared to its shorter version counterpart. However, the fact that West Indies are playing at home makes the contest even between the two sides. With the experience of Chandimal and Herath in batting and bowling departments respectively, expect Sri Lanka to topple West Indies in the first match of the series.
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