England in Sri Lanka | England may rotate players for second Test

Strike force: Anderson, who missed the opening match, could return for the second.   | Photo Credit: AFP

While England only needs a draw here to clinch another Test series in Sri Lanka, it’s a result that will be far from the minds of Joe Root’s line-up when the second match starts on Friday.

England is fourth in the ICC Test Championship standings, behind India, New Zealand and Australia. The final will be played in June and, to remain in calculation, England needs to win the second Test against Sri Lanka and then travel to India and win that series, too.

England hasn’t lost a series in Sri Lanka since 2007, having generally countered spin bowling well.

Root was in command in the first Test, scoring 228 in the first innings to set England on course for a seven-wicket win after Sri Lanka was skittled for 135.

But it was his second innings — run out for one — that he’ll be aiming to address when he plays his 99th Test.

England has a few options and could potentially make some rotations — especially fast bowlers.

Jimmy Anderson missed the opening match but could return for the second. Stuart Broad played in the first Test but may get a rest. England also could swap Olly Stone for Mark Wood, while Chris Woakes and Sam Curran could be competing for the all-rounder spot.

Bad start

England openers Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley were each dismissed for single digit scores in both innings, but Root has backed his openers to establish a better foundation.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is expected to make changes for the match. The host began the series with 22 players entering the bio-secure bubble. However, five players were sent home after Sri Lanka Cricket expressed dissatisfaction over some engaging in card games while the batting was collapsing on day one of the first Test.

Seamer Suranga Lakmal and top-order batsman Oshada Fernando are expected to return after recovering from injuries.

The teams (from):

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (Capt.), Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Niroshan Dickwella, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews, Ramesh Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Dasun Shanaka, Roshen Silva and Lahiru Thirimanne.

England: Joe Root (Capt.), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Daniel Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 8:20:58 AM |

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