Sri Lanka vs England, 1st Take a look at, Galle
With vacationers lacking a number of gamers from 2018 whitewash, skipper senses ‘clear benefit’ for house facet
Though Karunaratne didn’t point out them by identify, England have additionally left Ben Foakes out of the primary Take a look at, and haven’t introduced Adil Rashid on tour. All 5 of those gamers had made a considerable affect throughout England’s 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka in 2018. Stokes had performed each key innings, and bowled incisive spells; Jennings had hit a second-innings hundred in Galle, and brought excellent close-in catches; Moeen had taken 18 wickets; Foakes had top-scored within the sequence along with having stored wicket terribly effectively; and Rashid had turned the Colombo Take a look at along with his legspin.
The England facet set to take the sphere on Thursday, nevertheless, has a number of gamers on their first Sri Lanka tour.
“We have now a transparent benefit in opposition to this staff, as a result of they have a number of new gamers,” Karunaratne stated. “From the final sequence they performed in opposition to us, Stokes shouldn’t be of their squad and Jennings shouldn’t be within the staff. And Stokes is the man who balanced their staff. The gamers within the present squad haven’t got a lot expertise in these situations.
“That stated, we should not take it simple. They’ve ready effectively, and I’ve seen how effectively they’ve ready. They’ve additionally been taking part in cricket they usually have been the primary ones to start out taking part in Assessments once more after Covid hit. Their health ranges are nonetheless up there. We solely began once more in opposition to South Africa, and due to the harm issues, we have misplaced gamers.”
Regardless of the general confidence, Karunaratne was nonetheless cautious of the risk England’s spin assault posed. Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, England’s greatest bowler from the 2018 sequence will play once more. He took 18 wickets at 21.38 on that journey. Offspinner Dom Bess, who has 19 wickets from 15 bowling innings to date, can even be within the XI.
“I believe their spinners are simply as dangeorous this time. Leach is there, and he is the person who did numerous of labor within the final sequence right here. It is unlucky that Moeen Ali, who did an excellent job, cannot play the sequence. Dom Bess has carried out an excellent job for England as effectively, so we by no means underestimate their bowlers. We all the time knew what they’re able to of their bowling lineup.
“However we all know what the situations are, so we have now a number of plans in opposition to them. They’d performed a apply recreation right here earlier than the final sequence, and we have now that footage and every thing. We are attempting to play our regular, fearless recreation. We discovered numerous issues prior to now sequence, and we’re not going to make these errors once more.”
Sri Lanka’s batsmen, although, are taking part in a Take a look at at house for the primary time in 16 months, and have returned from South Africa solely eight days in the past, having performed on quick, bouncy pitches there. Karunaratne doesn’t suppose readjusting to house situations might be too huge a problem, even when rain has hampered what little preparation time they’d within the method to this Take a look at.
“Enjoying in Sri Lanka is troublesome anyway, however we have all been taking part in in Sri Lanka since we began cricket, and I do not suppose the truth that we have been overseas for a month will make it too troublesome to come back again to those situations. Sure, we’ve not performed for some time, however there was a home event final yr in addition to the LPL. We will not give the excuse that we have been taking part in in numerous situations and located it exhausting to change. These are our situations.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf