Sri Lanka v West Indies, 3rd Test, Pallekele November 30, 2010

Pallekele awaits its Test debut

  shares 26

Match facts

December 1-5
Start time 10.00 (04.30 GMT)

Big picture

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • POSTED BY ksupun on | December 1, 2010, 1:28 GMT

    All the best SL !! Hope good weather tooooo

  • POSTED BY ksupun on | December 1, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    Srilanka should give a chance to malinga bandara to play.For good fast bowlers i think SL have good choices from U19 team.@SLjohn i too agree with you i dont see any match winning fast bowler except malinga & kulasekara. May be they can try old gold vaasy for ODI s .But sanga is unlikely to do that..

  • POSTED BY hiranya on | December 1, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    Angelo Matthews is currently used as a full-time middle order batsman and a half bowler. Why cannot we use him as a genuine all-rounder in this match, particularly when we are minus Lasith Malinga?

  • POSTED BY mahesh2 on | December 1, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    @SLJohn-It's funny that you are expecting Suranga to grab more wickets in his debut than a regular.i agree with the other facts of yours.how ever Fernando my be handy when the pitch is bouncy.

  • POSTED BY Deepkar on | November 30, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    WI hopes r on gyle, chandrapaul, roch. Hope all play good so that This will be interesting test match.

  • POSTED BY Amar_bw on | November 30, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    WI win should be the coolest thing. Com'on Gayle!

  • POSTED BY SLJohn on | November 30, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Srilanka please don't repeating to play unsuccessful Fast bowlers, everyone's knows that Suranga Lakmal could able to get only one wicket that also by chance, and we couldn't see he bowled good length deliveries in the 2nd match. Further the biggest unsuccessful bowler Dilhara still in the squad, new comer Shaminda Eranga also can't see any high level performances in A-team matches.i don't know what kind of politics going on for team selecting, We don't have any fast bowlers in future without Malinga, srilankan cricket broad please do something, this are not oneday matches, 5days playing if this bowlers not success even though we have to play them for 5days, Select good fast bowlers like Malinga,kulasekara go and see in the other place and find few good fast bowlers like Malinga,

    Give chance if fail distroy them, and give chance to others, check one by one

  • POSTED BY 3rd_man on | November 30, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    Hope this is going to be a good contest. I was disappointing to see on final day of 2nd test how sl gone about taking final wickets of WI. Medis and Herath, couldn't keep tail ender on strike for next over. every body know WI wicket keeper wanted to hang around first few deliveries and take single for last ball. I have noticed both Mendis and Herath give easy single for last ball, it seems like there is a competition for the wicket. even sangakkara didnt brought field up. I found its difficult to understand the tactics. these people should understand,they should play for the country, not for personal goals.MJ is over rated batsman.I think thilan is much better test batsman,i have seen some partnerships between them (Pakistan & New zealand) he out scored and out classed MJ. for me Thilan much talented than MJ. MJ score runs behind the wicket. cant handle the pressure. can anybody remember MJ won matches for sl in pressure situation? hope he can score runs this time.

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    As the underdogs to the third ranked team, the Windies should go out there and have some constructive fun. I am a bit worried about Sammy's performance though, 2 wickets, 2 runs in the series so far. That is bound to undermine his authority on the side. Hope that does not adverse affect his teammates individual performance.

    Just be cool Sammy and give out your best. That last stoke to backward square was a poor shot selection. Calm yourself, show some respect to the bowlers for the first few balls - this is not an ODI or T20.

    Good Luck.

  • POSTED BY jermainewi on | November 30, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    if the rain dont fall we can win this one ...... maybe if they bat first with a good total like 520 then bowl out sl and enforce a fallow on the can win......... beside that a draw is more likely

  • POSTED BY gmoturu1 on | November 30, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    i hope this would be a draw or WI win. come on WI

  • POSTED BY ramzi1985 on | November 30, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    It seems like win the toss and bowl first pitch which Sanga should have done @ the Premadasa as well but he's the captain and i'm a mere spectator

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    wish you all the best for sri lanka.

  • POSTED BY randikaayya on | November 30, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    The new ground is walking distance from my home set amidst the rolling Dumbara plateau just norh east of kandy city. I'm gonna miss the former International venue of Kandy, Asgiriya stadium much though!

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    This is my village!!! and tomo i gonna c da First Match!!! eagerly waiting!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    One day you have to start playing test cricket on new grounds, But to start with a test on a new pitch before any practice matches is not a wise idea.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    One day you have to start playing test cricket on new grounds, But to start with a test on a new pitch before any practice matches is not a wise idea.

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    This is my village!!! and tomo i gonna c da First Match!!! eagerly waiting!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY randikaayya on | November 30, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    The new ground is walking distance from my home set amidst the rolling Dumbara plateau just norh east of kandy city. I'm gonna miss the former International venue of Kandy, Asgiriya stadium much though!

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    wish you all the best for sri lanka.

  • POSTED BY ramzi1985 on | November 30, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    It seems like win the toss and bowl first pitch which Sanga should have done @ the Premadasa as well but he's the captain and i'm a mere spectator

  • POSTED BY gmoturu1 on | November 30, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    i hope this would be a draw or WI win. come on WI

  • POSTED BY jermainewi on | November 30, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    if the rain dont fall we can win this one ...... maybe if they bat first with a good total like 520 then bowl out sl and enforce a fallow on the can win......... beside that a draw is more likely

  • POSTED BY on | November 30, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    As the underdogs to the third ranked team, the Windies should go out there and have some constructive fun. I am a bit worried about Sammy's performance though, 2 wickets, 2 runs in the series so far. That is bound to undermine his authority on the side. Hope that does not adverse affect his teammates individual performance.

    Just be cool Sammy and give out your best. That last stoke to backward square was a poor shot selection. Calm yourself, show some respect to the bowlers for the first few balls - this is not an ODI or T20.

    Good Luck.

  • POSTED BY 3rd_man on | November 30, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    Hope this is going to be a good contest. I was disappointing to see on final day of 2nd test how sl gone about taking final wickets of WI. Medis and Herath, couldn't keep tail ender on strike for next over. every body know WI wicket keeper wanted to hang around first few deliveries and take single for last ball. I have noticed both Mendis and Herath give easy single for last ball, it seems like there is a competition for the wicket. even sangakkara didnt brought field up. I found its difficult to understand the tactics. these people should understand,they should play for the country, not for personal goals.MJ is over rated batsman.I think thilan is much better test batsman,i have seen some partnerships between them (Pakistan & New zealand) he out scored and out classed MJ. for me Thilan much talented than MJ. MJ score runs behind the wicket. cant handle the pressure. can anybody remember MJ won matches for sl in pressure situation? hope he can score runs this time.

  • POSTED BY SLJohn on | November 30, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Srilanka please don't repeating to play unsuccessful Fast bowlers, everyone's knows that Suranga Lakmal could able to get only one wicket that also by chance, and we couldn't see he bowled good length deliveries in the 2nd match. Further the biggest unsuccessful bowler Dilhara still in the squad, new comer Shaminda Eranga also can't see any high level performances in A-team matches.i don't know what kind of politics going on for team selecting, We don't have any fast bowlers in future without Malinga, srilankan cricket broad please do something, this are not oneday matches, 5days playing if this bowlers not success even though we have to play them for 5days, Select good fast bowlers like Malinga,kulasekara go and see in the other place and find few good fast bowlers like Malinga,

    Give chance if fail distroy them, and give chance to others, check one by one