England are in Sri Lanka, the first of two test matches gets underway in Galle on Thursday and we take a look at the squads, form and the all important betting.
Let's start with a look at the squads
Sri Lanka named a large squad for the recent tour of South Africa and this series but they were hit by injuries in SA and the media will be worth monitoring.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Minod Bhanuka, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Santhush Gunathilake, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Dilshan Madushanka, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Thirimanne.
England have rested Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali is isolating and a reserve is likely to be added to the following squad.
England: Joe Root(c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Reserves: James Bracey (wk), Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Amar Virdi.
Recent Test Match Form
Sri Lanka had seen very little test cricket in 2020 and on their return to action they lost both test matches on recent a tour of South Africa, the first by an innings and 45 runs and the second by 10 wickets. They were hit by injuries during the first test which they had started well but there was little to shout about thereafter.
England have won each of their last 3 test series. Over Xmas and New Year 2019/20 they won 3-1 in South Africa and this year they came from behind to win a 3 match home series against West Indies (2-1) and they also won another home series against Pakistan, 1-0 with 2 draws.
Recent Head to Head
England last toured Sri Lanka in November 2018 and they won all 3 test matches for a clean sweep of the series including a 211 run win in Galle where they made scores of 342 and 322/6 declared to Sri Lanka's 203 and 250.
Galle International Stadium
Since England's win here in November 2018 there has been just 1 test match played at Galle and Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 6 wickets, scoring 267 and 268/4 declared to the Black Caps 249 and 285
The Betting, 1st Test Match Result
Sri Lanka 2/1
Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change
Sri Lanka were unfortunate with injuries in South Africa and could be a lot more competitive on home turf. Looking at recent scorecards and the top bowler betting spin is the most likely discipline to earn wickets but we will still take our chances in the top 1st innings bat markets.
Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne scored a match winning ton in the win over New Zealand in the last test match on this ground. That knock came in the second innings and this time the Sri Lankan skipper gets the vote to top score for his side at the first time of asking.
In the equivalent market for England Jonny Bairstow is back in the test match fold and he will be keen to justify the selectors decision and nail down his place in future series.
Bets: SL top 1st innings bat Dimuth Karunaratne at 11/4
ENG top 1st innings bat Jonny Bairstow at 4/1
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