Already on the back foot in this series, having lost the opening Test to the Windies in Port-of-Spain, Sri Lanka awoke to the news that they will have to do without former captain Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Gamage as they are now traveling back home for different reasons.
Mathews goes home for personal reasons while Gamage is out through injury. The big right-hander suffered an injury to the finger when he was hit on the glove by a Shannon Gabriel thunderbolt. Gamage had some on-field treatment and continued batting, finishing with three off 49 balls, as Sri Lanka lost by 226 runs.
The Sri Lankan management has sent out for two replacements and they left Sri Lanka last evening for the blue waters of the Caribbean. However, given the distance, they have to travel there is no way possible they can reach these shores in time for the Test. The men coming in from Sri Lanka are Dhanuska Gunathilaka and Dasun Shanaka.
In the interim the Sri Lankans can call on Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajita or Asitha Fernando who are here with the team. The Sri Lankans traveled to the region with 17 players and not the normal 15 and it will now work in their favour.
Meanwhile, the teams held their workout at the Beausejour the venue for tomorrow’s clash and the Windies are reporting that all is fine and well within their camp.
Skipper Jason Holder will be hoping that his team can register their second back to back Test win in four years. The last time this was achieved was way back in 2014 against Bangladesh in the Caribbean.
The pitch here is expected to help his ambitions as it is expected to be similar to what obtained at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. With the Windies quicks inform, the visitors will be wary, as they did not handle them well in Trinidad, falling for 185 and 223 in their two efforts.
The last time a Test match was played here was against India in 2016 and it assisted the faster bowlers, as India won the game. Traditionally the pitch here has played well, giving results to anyone willing to put in the hard work and it is expected to play the same again today.
Rain has been in and around the Gros Islet area over the past few days and is expected to worsen over the weekend, which means that interruptions are expected. The authorities in St. Lucia moved away from playing cricket at the Mindoo Phillip Park because it was apparently built in a rain belt. This is why the Beausejour came into being. They built this ground in what is known as a ‘dry’ area so they are hoping that the rain does not play a big hand.
Play on the first day tomorrow gets underway at 10am.
Windies: Jason Holder – Captain, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jamar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara.
Source: www.gaurdian.co.tt (Vinode Mamchan)