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

West Indies aim to sustain improvement


Match facts

November 23-27
Start time 10.00 (04.30 GMT)

Big picture

Sri Lanka were grateful for some assistance from the weather in Galle after West Indies produced their finest overseas performance since beating South Africa in Port Elizabeth three years ago. The visitors were inspired by Chris Gayle's monumental 333, a fantastic innings which began as a destructive opening-day onslaught before he methodically consolidated the team's position.

And if anyone thought Sri Lanka would the pile up 600 themselves that was dashed as Kemar Roach and Shane Shillingford led a committed bowling display which ended with the home side three runs short of saving the follow-on. However, time was already becoming tight and once Sri Lanka edged into the lead they could breathe a little easier. But they have been put on notice: West Indies aren't here just to make up the numbers.

Sri Lanka's major issue is with their bowling attack, not entirely surprising given they have lost Muttiah Muralitaran's 800 wickets. Ajantha Mendis collected six in Galle, but most of them came long after Gayle had set up a huge total, while Suraj Randiv wasn't particularly threatening on a docile surface. Aravinda de Silva, the chairman of the selectors, was exasperated when talking about the problems trying to find pace bowlers with particular mention of Lasith Malinga who is being saved for one-day and Twenty20 action.

West Indies, though, have issues of their own after Shillingford, the offspinner, was reported to ICC for a suspect action. He is still allowed to play pending the investigation, and has received the backing of the coach Ottis Gibson, but it is hardly the ideal preparation for a Test match when a bowler knows all eyes will be on his elbow.

However, given the travails of West Indies in recent years to be entering the second Test of an away series still on level terms isn't an achievement to take lightly. If Gayle continues his form and gets the same support from his team-mates as at Galle then this series can remain an unexpectedly tight contest.

Form guide (last five completed matches)

Sri Lanka DLDWL
West Indies DLDLL

Watch out for...

Ajantha Mendis made a belated mark on the opening Test as he ran through West Indies' lower order. While the late spell didn't change the course of the innings it was a warning of the impact he can have on new batsmen who have yet to settle and emphasises the importance, as shown by Gayle, of batsmen not throwing their wickets away when set. Mendis' success rate has slowed since the heady days early in his career when no batsman appeared able to pick him, but following the retirement of Muralitharan it's time for him to show he can lift his game and become the leader of Sri Lanka's spin attack.

You almost had to rub your eyes watching Darren Bravo bat on his Test debut. The similarities to a certain BC Lara were just uncanny. From his profile, to his stance, then the back lift and the flowing cover drive. There have been players who model themselves on their heroes, but Bravo has taken it to a new level. The key, though, is that Bravo can really play. He has long-since been earmarked for an international career and a debut innings of 58 at No. 3 was a fine way to start. Endless comparisons with Lara won't help his development, but he looks like a cricketer who can have a major part in West Indies' future.

Team news

Sri Lanka will have two new quick bowlers as Dammika Prasad and Thilan Thushara were both omitted from the squad. Shaminda Eranga is an uncapped paceman, but the selectors may opt for the experience of Dilhara Fernando.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Thilan Samaraweera, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Dilhara Fernando.

Despite the issues over his action, Shillingford appears set to play and be partnered by Sulieman Benn who is now available following suspension. Andre Russell is the likely man to make way which means the new ball will be in the hands of either Darren Sammy or Dwayne Bravo.

West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Adrian Barath, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Brendan Nash, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Shane Shillingford, 10 Kemar Roach

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is an unknown quantity for everyone having been relaid ahead of the World Cup and this is the first first-class match it will be used for. In the days leading into the Test it was on the damp side, which suggests some early movement for the quicks, but the issue with new surfaces is whether they can last the duration.


"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."
Kumar Sangakkara is confident his team will be in better shape for Colombo.

"Sri Lanka are one of the best teams in the world. We are expecting them to come back strong. I hope they will come hard on us. But we have prepared sufficiently."
Darren Sammy is ready for a backlash from the hosts.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    @Sachin7. SL has achieved so many thing in Test that nobody can denie that. Everybody knows IND is mediocore team in Test.Winnig only one match in SA after playing 78 years is so pathatic isn't it?.....On the other hand SL has achieved many many things in Test when we compare to other teams.SL is the 8th Test nation and only BAN & ZIM got test status after SL. Whereas all the other teams are got(Test) well before SL. But SL achieved so many thing in Test as well as ODI and T20 that other teams even can not think about that, that is the reality. Being a small nation achieving so much is unbearerble thing for others.That is why they jealous about SL nothing else.

  • Srinivasan on November 23, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Rexton and Vansan, am not speaking gaga about India here, what am trying to say, try to be humble and especially when SL have achieved nothing really in Test cricket. Sangakarra is one arrogant person and many SL fans are getting swayed by what he talks as an aggressive positive approach and a reality. But the reality is SL have been a mediocore team only in Tests. But i am least bothered about how SL is, but SL fans calling WI as minnows and talking lowly about them isn't acceptable at all. If atleast OZ fans (even though appears arrogant) talk like this its remotely acceptable as they ruled for 15 years or so, but definitely not SL

  • peter on November 23, 2010, 10:40 GMT

    people no need for thrash talking teams. remember WI was the most feared team. check the records and see how many batsman scored runs that sand out for their team like Gayle did. Jaysuriya, Hayden, Lara, etc. did it. SL is no better than WI because they rely on just a few players WI- Gayle, shav, bravo and SL sanga mahela, mendis, malinga. Sammy has just started no need to bad talk him wish him the best. SL hard luck in the first test WI outplayed you. WI keep the good work going. and all you critics criticizing won't change the order of the day. hope ya'll getting paid for that cuz they getting paid for playing cricket- win or lose.

  • Yohantha on November 23, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Sachin7>> Remember the 2007 50 over world cup??? and the 2010 T20 WC????

  • Valavan on November 23, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    @Sachin7, it will happen for India as well in future with Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman gone, who will win test matches abroad for India, Pujara? Raina? Dhoni?, also not to forget harbhajan is a puppy out of India, he claimed wickets coz of Kumble who actually created pressure. Sachin's final appearance will mostly be 2011 WC, same do with Dravid, by end of 2011, we can expect the same which happened to SL since 2009

  • Srinivasan on November 23, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Looks like some of the SL fans have become cocky too just like their captain Sangakarra. Its really very sad to see them bashing WI team as minnows etc. But they fail to face reality which is they themselves aren't champions, just an ordinary team who does only in their country and even there they won only with Vaas and Murali. Now with both champions gone, they aren't going to win at all probably, which showed clearly in the first test. Gone are the days when SL had some gentlemen in their team like Murali, Jayasuriya, Ranatunga etc

  • Anver on November 23, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    This is gonna be a another tame tame draw.... of course the winner will be the weather here in Sri Lanka, SL public mostly believe whenever a foreign team is on tour expect the rain in SL...anyway hope we get some cricket.

  • Ramindu on November 23, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    @ napster- Thank you for the humor mate. As it's an unknown pitch and due to prevaling gloomy weather win the toss and bowl should be the option. Sammy did a godd job captaining the team and still only 1 test old as captin so give him a chance even though the team balance gets a little awkward.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    The probable team can win the test match. Nuwan can handle the situation he needs more test exposure, Dilhara 's speed & slow bouncers good weapons. Newly laid pitch it will react/so still unpredictable, wait & see the pitch report.Best of luck sri lanka.

  • Tim on November 23, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Taking the new ball will do Sammy a world of good. He'll be a more key player in the bowling lineup so will be more confident to bowl himself. He's still finding his feet as captain so he needs to establish himself as a more key player. That meant either batting in the top six or, like he will now, taking the new ball. Sammy, Roach, Bravo, Benn, Shillingford is a far better attack than Sri Lanka will produce. If Windies can fire with the bat again this could be a great test match.

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