After going down in the ODI series and the one-off T20 international, hosts Sri Lanka will hope for a positive result when they take on England in the three-match test series. The first test is scheduled to be played from November 6 at the Galle International Stadium. Live telecast will begin at 10 AM local time each day of the match.
SL vs Eng 1st Test: Where to Watch/Live Streaming
TV channels: Sony Six, Sky Sports Cricket, Fox Sports, OSN Sports Cricket HD, MTV Channel
Live Streaming: Bet365, SonyLIV, Sky Go
Each of the last six test matches played at the Galle International Stadium has been won by the side batting first. And also since the wicket is expected to deteriorate as the match progresses, the toss-winning skipper will most likely elect to bat first.
Read on for team previews, betting odds, betting tips and match prediction for SL vs Eng 1st Test...
Sri Lanka Team News & Playing 11
SL Team News
Dinesh Chandimal will be leading Sri Lanka's 16-man test squad in this upcoming three-match series versus England. Angelo Mathews, who missed the ODI series and the solitary T20 international, has returned for the tests and will join his skipper along with Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella in the batting group. This will be the last international game for veteran spinner Rangana Herath who will be retiring after this opening Galle test. Sri Lanka will probably go with three spinners - Herath, Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan - and two seamers in Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep.
SL Key Players
Sri Lanka will be heavily reliant on the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews in the batting department. Chandimal and Dickwella both have a good record in test cricket at home and they will be desperate to perform after having failed to click in the preceding white-ball series. Mathews' experience will be vital in the middle order. The former captain is returning after being axed from the ODI series as well as the lone T20I and he will be looking to silence his critics with a big knock. Spinners will be the key on this pitch which brings Rangana Herath, Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan into the picture. However, all eyes will be on the retiring Herath who is expected to put in a match-winning performance before he hangs up his boots. Suranga Lakmal will be starting the proceedings with the new ball and Sri Lanka will back him to provide the early breakthrough.
SL Recent Form
Sri Lanka have won four, drawn two and lost just one out of the seven test matches they have played so far this year. They hosted South Africa in their previous series and ended up winning that two-match series 2-0 by massive margins of 278 runs and 199 runs respectively. Prior to that, they toured the West Indies where they played a series of three tests against the hosts which resulted a 1-1 draw.
England have drafted a 17-man squad for the test series against Sri Lanka with Joe Root as their captain. With Alastair Cook retired, the visitors will have a new opening combination in Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns with Moeen Ali expected to be slotted in at number three. The team will miss the services of Jonny Bairstow who has been ruled out of this opening test with an ankle injury he had sustained during the one-dayers. Jos Buttler, therefore, is likely to keep wickets in this match. With the pitch being conducive to spin bowling, England could drop Stuart Broad and bring in Jack Leach to complement the other two spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.
ENG Key Players
With Alastair Cook not around anymore, England will bank on their skipper Joe Root to score big for them at the top of the order. He is ranked fourth in the ICC test batting rankings and will be eager to start the series off in style. Moeen Ali is likely to be promoted up the order and the team will be expecting a significant contribution from him as well. The middle-order will depend heavily on Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Stokes and Moeen will also play a big role with the ball. The latter, however, will be more effective on this spin-friendly surface. James Anderson is currently the number one bowler in tests and he will look to penetrate the Sri Lankan top order with the new ball. Adil Rashid will come into play once the seamers are through. The leg-spinner was impressive in the ODIs and is coming off a three-wicket haul in the T20I at Colombo.
ENG Recent Form
England are coming on the back of an impressive 4-1 series win over India at home. They suffered a heavy 203-run loss at Nottingham after winning the first two games of that series, but finished on a high with a 60-run victory at Southampton and a 118-run win at the Oval in the last two matches respectively. Before that, England lost 0-1 in New Zealand and then drew a two-match home series 1-1 against Pakistan.
England Predicted Playing 11
Keaton Jennings, Rory Burns, Moeen Ali, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Team Form in Last Five Matches (most recent first)
SL : W W W D L
ENG : W W L W W
SL vs ENG Head to Head
SL vs ENG Head to Head
Sri Lanka and England have so far played 31 test matches against each other. The former have won 8 of those while the latter have won 12 with the rest all having ended in stalemates.
Sri Lanka have never lost to England in a test match at the Galle International Stadium. The two countries have faced each other four times here in this format with the hosts emerging victorious on two occasions.
Sri Lanka went on to register a 75-run victory the last time they played England in a test match at this ground in March 2012.
Matches Played: 31; Sri Lanka Won: 8; England Won: 12; Tie: 11
England vs Sri Lanka Betting Odds
Sri Lanka begin as the bookmaker's favorites to win this opening test at odds of 3 on Bet365 and 3.25 on both Betway and Betfair. England are the underdogs for this match at a slightly higher price of 4 on Betway, 3.75 on Bet365 and 3.80 on Betfair. With rain expected to make interruptions on each day of the game, a draw seems good value at 1.90, 2.20 and 2.24 with the respective bookmakers.
Sri Lanka vs England Prediction
England, after dominant performances in the limited-overs leg of their tour, will be going into the test series high on confidence. However, their performance in the longest format outside of England has been dismal - they have lost eight and have not won any of their last ten tests played away from home. And with the retirement of Alastair Cook, their top-order batting suddenly looks inexperienced and fragile. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be playing at their fortress where they have won five of their last six tests. The Sri Lankan spinners are likely to give the English batsmen a tough time at the crease and so we predict the hosts to win this opening test, should the weather decide not to play spoilsport.
Final Verdict: Back Sri Lanka to beat England in the first Test at 3 on Bet365 and 3.25 on both Betway and Betfair.