Sri Lanka v West Indies, 3rd Test, Pallekele

Pallekele awaits its Test debut

The Preview by Siddhartha Talya

November 30, 2010

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

December 1-5
Start time 10.00 (04.30 GMT)


Darren Sammy walks off after being dismissed for a golden duck in his first match as West Indies captain, Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day, November 16, 2010
Darren Sammy the allrounder needs to step up © AFP
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This series was supposed to be a mismatch but it has turned out to be a well-contested tussle, though marred by unfavourable weather. West Indies gave Sri Lanka a bloody nose in Galle where they enforced the follow-on, but were at the receiving end of an improved performance from the hosts whose batsmen and spinners dominated the rain-affected Colombo Test. The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, the venue for the decider, and one being groomed for the World Cup, is untested at the highest level, though it has staged a fair share of domestic games earlier this year, sporting a pitch that has shown a tendency to favour batting.

Sri Lanka, ranked third in the world, will face the pressure of achieving a result they were expected to at the start of the series, and undermine any West Indian hopes of a revival under Darren Sammy's leadership. They made three changes to their squad in the previous Test - turning to the experience of Nuwan Kulaskerara and Rangana Herath, and bringing in seamer Suranga Lakmal - and each paid off.

For West Indies, the spin pair of Shane Shillingford and Sulieman Benn were below-par, and the onus fell on fast bowler Kemar Roach. Against a more challenging attack, the batting failed to measure up, though Darren Bravo's delightful 80 was a bright spot. The hosts appear to have hit the right notes leading into the decider and weather permitting - there are light showers forecast for the next four days - anything short of a win would be a disappointment.

Form guide (last five completed matches)

West Indies: DDLDL
Sri Lanka: DDLDW

Watch out for...

Darren Sammy: His stint as captain seems to have begun on a promising note with the results exceeding expectations against a formidable opponent, but his individual form has been a worry. Sammy was not a regular feature of the Test side prior to being thrust into his new role, and his performance in the series so far suggests why that may have been the case. He's made just two runs in two innings, taken two wickets, and dropped catches. He needs to step up in all departments.

Ajantha Mendis: On a track that his captain expects to break, Mendis potentially could prove a handful. He troubled the West Indies with his variations in Colombo and if supported with an even more helpful pitch, the challenge is out for West Indies' experienced campaigners in Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul as well as their younger crop in hostile conditions.

Team news

Kumar Sangakkara said his team would consider making a change in the spin attack, depending on the conditions. Offspinner Suraj Randiv was left out of the second Test but could be preferred if the track promises some extra bounce.

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

Given the manner in which the spinners performed in the second Test, West Indies could be tempted to bring back Andre Russell to partner Roach with the new ball. Will they drop Shillingford and go in with three seamers? Or will the nature of the pitch take precedence over past performance?

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 (capt), 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Shane Shillingford / Andre Russell, 11 Kemar Roach

Pitch and conditions

Sangakkara said he expected the pitch to break and assist his spinners, and hoped it would offer more bounce and pace. However, the weatherthreatens to play a prominent role in the decider as well.

Stats and Trivia

  • The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium will be the 104th Test venue and Sri Lanka's eighth
  • Sri Lanka haven't lost a Test series at home since 2006, and have drawn just one home series in that period - their previous one against India
  • Sri Lanka has never staged a three-Test series where all games have ended in draws

Quotes

"There is nothing that you can do about the weather but at the same time we've come up here hoping to start reconstruction of West Indies cricket."
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson hopes the weather will permit a full contest

"Hopefully it will have more bounce and pace so that batsmen can play shots even on the first day. Other than that, I think, it will help all the bowlers. We are expecting it to break up sooner and help our spinners."
Kumar Sangakkara on the Pallekele pitch

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ramzi1985 on (December 1, 2010, 14:59 GMT)

@ napster- Wake up dude WI might have been a mighty team until the 90s now they are merely a shadow, and are rightfully classified as minnows with their below par performances over the years but there's always hope. So be glad that they are yet accpeted by the cricketing community

Posted by   on (December 1, 2010, 5:37 GMT)

good one sl,,,,, go,,,go,,,,

Posted by first_slip on (December 1, 2010, 5:10 GMT)

@ksupun , "Srilanka should give a chance to malinga bandara", well that is the worst selection if sri lanken selectors did that, if seen the Asian Games t20, he was taken to the cleaners even by Nepal batsmen, useless overrated bowler,

Posted by napster82 on (December 1, 2010, 5:04 GMT)

WI cricket board should ask for compensation from SL cricket board for scheduling test series at the height of the rainy season in SL.. what a waste of time.... I always think WI should be playing against well respected and recognized teams like Australia, England, India and Pakistan instead of wasting their time with a minor team like SL especially considering up coming World Cup

Posted by   on (December 1, 2010, 4:46 GMT)

Hopefully pallekele stadium pitch be a good one for batsman.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2010, 3:16 GMT)

hope the weather will somehow help any of the team to win the match. New pitch , never know how it will work. challenge even for hosts, but windies are so good enough to tackle with a new pitch. sad about Asgiriya for not getting any matches after december 2007.

Posted by Goofballs on (December 1, 2010, 2:31 GMT)

Lanka must go all out with a pure three pronged spin attack backed up by Dilshan.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2010, 2:29 GMT)

come-on SL................

Posted by   on (December 1, 2010, 2:21 GMT)

How can a new venue get test center status? ..... :(

Posted by popahwheely on (December 1, 2010, 1:50 GMT)

If Gayle fail Windies fail....Roach will get his wickets. Their only hope is a draw again.

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