2nd Test Cricket Preview – Sri Lanka v Australia
Thursday August 4, 2:30pm AEST – Galle International Stadium
Australia heads to Galle trailing Sri Lanka 1-0 in the series after their 106-run loss in Galle and there’s no questioning that it was a Test match that got away from them. The Australian bowlers all chipped in to dismiss Sri Lanka in their first innings for a sub-par total of 117, but it was the Australian batsmen who couldn’t push home the advantage, taking a first innings lead of just 86 into the second innings. Rangana Herath (4/49) and debutant Lakshan Sandakan (4/58) deserve special mention for keeping Sri Lanka in the contest but it was the brilliant innings of Kusal Mendis (176) that rammed home Sri Lanka’s advantage, leaving Australia 268 for victory. Once again it was the spin duo of Herath (5/54) and Sandakan (3/49) who tore through the Australians to give Sri Lanka a memorable victory.
Galle is renowed as being a spinner’s paradise and the assignment doesn’t get any easier for the Australians now that the Sri Lankan spinners have plenty of confidence under their belts. Herath took 9 wickets for the match in the 1st Test, while Sandakan had a debut Test to remember, taking 7/107 for the match.
Sri Lanka’s fast bowling stocks have taken a hit with Nuwan Pradeep in doubt, but it shouldn’t matter too much with Herath and Sandakan sure to share the majority of the bowling load. Meanwhile, Australia have called in Jon Holland to replaced the injured Steve O’Keefe, with the pressure and expectation sure to be on the experienced Nathan Lyon’s shoulders.
Australia have played 3 Test matches at Galle for 2 victories and 1 draw, while Sri Lanka have 6 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses at Galle since 2012. The most recent between these sides was in 2011 which Australia won by 125 runs with Lyon taking 5/34, while Herath took figures of 8/133 for the match.
Sri Lanka last played at Galle in 2015 and beat the West Indies by an innings and 6 runs. Sri Lanka’s out-of-form opener Dimuth Karunaratne made 186 and was well supported by Dinesh Chandimal with 151.
The hero once again was that man Herath! Herath took 6/68 in the first innings before following it up with 4/79 to secure a 10-wicket haul for the match.
Australia will definitely be desperate but The Wolf can’t see how Australia’s woes can improve on a turner against a world-class spinner like Herath. If rain doesn’t intervene like it did in stages at Kandy, Sri Lanka look over the odds at $4.33 to wrap up the series here.
Match Result – Sri Lanka ($4.33)
Sri Lanka Most Runs – Dinesh Chandimal ($4.50)
Australia Most Runs – Steve Smith ($3.75)
Sri Lanka Most Wickets – Rangana Herath ($2.50)
Australia Most Wickets – Nathan Lyon ($3.50)
Best Bet – Rangana Herath – Most Wickets ($2.50)