The major talking point before the first match of Sri Lanka vs Australia test series was the tussle between Muttiah Muralitharan and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). SLC felt that an inexperienced Lanka side will be further weakened by Murali’s consulting the opponents. However, Sri Lanka won the first test match thanks to Kausal Mendis’s splendid batting and Rangana Herath’s brilliance. Australia will do everything at their disposal in order to win the Sri Lanka vs Australia 2nd test and avoid further embarrassment.
Currently Australia is ranked 1 in ICC test match rankings and Sri Lanka occupies the 7th position. Another loss and Australia might have to vacate the top position owing to India’s superior performance against West Indies.
Australia have lost both the previous two test series in the sub-continent: 4 – 0 against India in India and 2 – 0 against Pakistan in the Gulf. Another series loss will put them in a really bad light.
Australian Cricket Board signed a contract extension of the current Australian coach Darren Lehmann until 2019. This should have generated a positive sentiment in the dressing room as the Board appears to be confident in his abilities and there seems to be no panic yet.
Focus was the key for batsmen in the first match and this match also it’ll be really important. Warner got scores of 0 and 1 in the first test and he needs to come up with a better performance this time. Sri Lankan batsmen fared poorly as well, with the exception of Kausal Mendis who played a counter attacking innings.
Players to watch out for:
Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka): Herath is in a phenomenal form having taken 9 wickets in the first match giving away a mere 103 runs. Moreover, Galle is his favourite ground. Herath took 10 wickets in his last Test outing in Galle against the West Indies in November and took 7 wickets in an innings against India the previous match in this ground.
Steven Smith (Australia): He is by far the best player of spin in Australian team. He needs to be at his best to negotiate Herath and co. In the first test, he got a good start (30, 55) in both the innings but threw away his wicket just when it mattered the most for Australia. This time hopefully he’ll play a captain’s innings and help them get a victory.
Nuwan Pradeep sustained an injury and is ruled out of the match. With this Herath is the only bowler in Lankan side to have played double digit test matches.
Steve O Keefe pulled a hamstring and hence will not be part of this test match.
Sri Lanka XI (likely) : Angelo Mathews (capt), Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando
Australia XI (likely): Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Joe Burns, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Jon Holland, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges
Galle is likely to be a dust bowl and it is expected to spin from day 1. A result within 4 days is likely.
Overcast conditions with occasional stray showers, but nothing torrential.