Sri Lanka v West Indies, 2nd Test, Colombo November 22, 2010

New pitch an unknown quantity


Sri Lanka, perhaps for the first time, will find themselves in alien territory despite the fact that they are the home side when they meet West Indies in the second Test starting at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.

There's a new laid pitch and construction work going all round the area to get the stadium ready for the 2011 World Cup and playing a Test match amidst such a set up is not the ideal scenario. But the Sri Lankans are keen to test the pitch ahead of their World Cup so there was little choice but to play this Test match here.

"As long as play doesn't get disrupted and the match referees and teams are happy with the situation when we start the game that should be okay," said captain Kumar Sangakkara. "We have to keep our focus mainly on what's happening out there in the middle and the best of what we have here. This venue was picked most probably because it is a World Cup venue to try and see whether the pitches and everything was upto scratch. We'll have to come tomorrow and see how the wicket behaves and then take it from there.

"You've got trust the curator to give us the best wicket possible," he added. "It was a bit damp today and hopefully the sun will dry it out and have it Test match ready by the time play is due to start tomorrow.

"Being in Sri Lanka usually the wickets are nice and dry and they turn. This might be different from that, we don't know yet. The final proof of what the pitch is doing is to actually play on it. It would have been a nice reference to have if a domestic game was played here before the Test. But that's the beauty of playing international cricket. Sometimes you have to take things on the chin and just get on with the job."

Sangakkara felt that where his team fell behind West Indies in the drawn first Test at Galle was their failure to focus on the game plans and executing them. "We expect to play a lot better from ball one of the game, to make sure we are focused on our game plans and executing them," he said. "That's where we fell behind West Indies in the last game. They outplayed us on those little details. Those are the things we have to tighten."

Sri Lanka are likely to go with their usual combination of two seamers and two spinners despite the attack failing to trouble West Indies for a long periods last week. "It is sometimes tempting to go with fast bowlers but we should not get carried away by what we see," said Sangakkara. "We need to plan out a team that can handle situations for all five days and not just one innings but four quality innings of batting and bowling. "Our best combination is two seamers and two spinnners. Angelo Mathews might just be able to bowl a bit more in this Test match. We really need to know what the pitch is like when we leave and if there is rain tonight and how it turns up tomorrow."

West Indies are also planning on using two spinners for this Test and Sangakkara believes it is good for the game that the slow men are having such a key role to play. "It's great, for all the talk of Twenty20, that we are finally seeing a new era for spinners. They are really dominating cricket in every format of the game.

"In the shorter versions they have been more dominating than ever. It's encouraging for sides and for countries where there are youngsters who are good spinners who haven't had much of a go. It's good for Sri Lanka, West Indies and other countries we see some great spinners now playing Test cricket."

West Indies' preparations have been overshadowed by Shane Shillingford, the offspinner, being reported for a suspect bowling action but Sangakkara preferred to focus on the bowler's skills rather than controversy. "He is an interesting bowler the lines he bowls and the little bit of variation that he has in pace. He is a bowler who can probably change direction at the very last minute the way he bowls. We had a good chat about him. We got a few plans in a few different areas to try and defend and then attack him as well."

With left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn expected to return to the team after serving a one-Test suspension, Sangakkara added: "Benn is also quite a good bowler when the conditions suit him. He is coming back after a long break so whatever combination they play it will be a tough challenge. We have also to think about their fast bowlers who bowled exceptionally well and how to combat that. They've got a very good bowling attack and we got stay a step ahead as far as we can."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ramindu on November 25, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    The stats I have compiled are from year 2000 Jan 1 to 2010 Nov Sorry about all the complicated data but go through it and give some feedback, with these stats there isn't a big difference between the two teams in away matches. Both teams struggle against AUS & SA Where SL has only 1 win in ENG Ind has only 2, in NZ both teams have only won 1 match, in AUS india have won twice where SL has none and in SA india has won once where SL has none. In WI SL has won 1 and Ind won 2 but in all these countries Ind has played more matches. Even in Zim and BD india have played 4 & 7 test matches respectively where the numbers for SL are 2 and 4 So if SL can have more matches maybe they'll be able to improve thier record or go the other way as well

  • Shankar on November 24, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    @Ahamed If you can read numbers, please check:;filter=advanced;groupby=host;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;orderby=won;spanmax1=24+Nov+2010;spanmin1=1+Jan+2000;spanval1=span;team=8;template=results;type=team. All stats are from CricInfo StatsGuru. I do understand now you, lakmal and your ilk will probably say Wisden, Cricinfo and ESPN cooked the stats all over the world to ensure SL is unfairly treated but guess there is nothing I can do about that.

  • Ramindu on November 24, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Here's the stats for SL & India in away games thanks to cricinfo

    SL in Aus 4 tests lost 3 draw 1 Ind in Aus 9 tests won 2 lost 5 draw 3

    SL in Eng 6 tests won 1 lost 3 draw 2 Ind in Eng 7 tests won 2 lost 1 draw 4

    SL in NZ 4 tests won 1 lost 2 draw 1 Ind in NZ 5 tests won 1 lost 2 draw 2

    SL in WI 4 test won 1 lost 2 draw 1 Ind in WI 9 tests won 2 lost 2 draw 5

    SL in SA 5 tests lost 4 draw 1 Ind in SA 5 tests won 1 lost 3 draw 1

    SL in Pak 8 tests won 4 lost 2 draw 2 Ind in Pak 6 tests won 2 lost 2 draw 2

    SL in Zim 2 tests won 2 Ind in Zim 4 tests won 3 lost 1

    SL in Ban 4 tests won 4 Ind in Ban 7 tests won 6 draw 1

    SL in Ind 6 tests won 4 draw 2 Ind in SL 9 test won 3 lost 5 draw 1

    You could see against Aus,Eng,NZ,WI, India has played a higher number of tests and they would also up the count in SA as well. This was why Sangakkara was telling that SL needs more away games so that they could be more competitive Would like to hear what you have to say

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    @ Shan_Karthic.You are misquoted the results.We (SL) won more than one match against ENG & NZ in their countries.Why u are saying one match a piece.So I have a little doubt in your stat. @harsh_vardhan2002: My friend I need to ask one question How many centuries Sachin get in AUS when McGrath & Warne era?...What is the Avg of him in those era.Your SRT avg is better Once those Legends retire only.Otherwise still the Avg is below 40.How many matches he needs to play to get his first hundred in ODI?....You know in 1990/99 (whole decade) only one away win for IND playing 39 away matches.But for SL 5away win from 37away matches.Till 1990 IND has 58 years of history in Test.After 58 years Overseas record is such, then how SL win so many matches after 28 years?....SL will win in future but better than IND for sure.

  • Shankar on November 24, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    Lakmal and other SL fans: In last 10 years, SL has not won a single test match in Aus, Ind and SA and has won just 1 each in Eng, NZ and WI. In the current rankings period, excluding matches against Bangla and Zim, SL is the team that has played most home games, has the worst combined W/L ratio, has the worst away W/L ratio in the top 5 ranked teams. If you still think SL is better than Ind, SA, Aus & Eng, then you will put an Ostrich to shame.

  • Crazy on November 24, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    SL Dudes...get a just won tests against ZIM, BAN & poor WI n PAK..and you guys framing it as though you concurred the world like alexander ;-) how many years will it take for you to WIN a SINGLE TEST in AUS, IND & SA???? considering the fact that you don't have murali & vaas(IMHO only two world class cricketers ever produced by SL)...

  • Ramindu on November 24, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    This test series is on WI Vs SL could you please stick to the topic everybody

  • Manesh on November 24, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    @ LakmalPhysics Check the stats since 1996 Jan 01---. LOL. Why from 1996 ?. there were no constrains for the other stats you mentioned !.

  • Harshvardhan on November 24, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    @lakmalphysics not only u guys have not won asingle test match in india u guys also have not won a bilateral odi series in india check cricinfo stats for that matter u claim murli is great sanath is better sanga,mahela,dilshan then atleast once you should have won reply about this one surely dude look instead of trying to bring disrepute to game by calling sachin ORDINARY u guys should improve ur overseas record dont u think chucker murli retired that task is going from bad to worse

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    Comparing Sachin with Sanga is like comparing Murali with Bhajji! Get over it people. Stop fighting like morons. Its the god forsaken pitch he is talking about not about Sachin!

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