Preview: 1st Test, England Vs Sri Lanka, Cardiff




Tillakaratne Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan

As both teams take the field for the three Test series starting 26th May, they leave behind some historical moments and look to set their sights on claiming the No. 1 Test ranking currently held by India. At Cardiff, it is back to the good old, white clothing, red ball, five day cricket after a recent overdose of over three months of limited overs cricket.

For Sri Lanka, it’s the dawn of a new era, fresh from their runners up spot at the World Cup, and under the new leadership of Tillekeratne Dilshan. There have been more political rumblings in the Sri Lankan board as they will be keen to make headlines with their efforts on the field. Now, the Sri Lankans had two warm up games prior to the first Test and the batting looks to be formidable despite the first innings collapse against Middlesex in their second warm up game. They will have Sangakkara and Jayawardene back in the middle order supported by Thilan Samaraweera. Angelo Mathews is still nursing an injury, and Maharoof should slot in. However, the biggest challenge to overcome will be the retirement of Muralitharan and Rangana Herath should find a place in an attack comprised of four seamers. Their bowling needs to pull together and make good use of the early summer moisture in England if they are to succeed.

England laboured through the World Cup after a tiring summer Down Under, where they comprehensively retained the Ashes. They also usher in a new era, as they now have three captains, one for each format of the game. However, upto nine of the playing eleven in their last Test at Sydney should start this game. Their batting looks strong, with the solidity of Cook, Strauss, Trott and Bell complemented by the flair of Pietersen and Morgan. Their bowling will be spearheaded by Greame Swann while James Anderson and Stuart Broad should also feature. The odds seem to favour England as the Sri Lankan batsmen still seem to be stuck in the one-day mode.

The English summer is starting and this is the appetizer for the main course, when the Indians make their way there. Winning both these series, against the sub continent powerhouses will earn England the No. 1 Test ranking status by the end of the summer. For now though, usher in the lovely English summer.

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