India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: Sri Lanka Predicted XI

India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: Sri Lanka Predicted XI

If Sri Lanka are to have any shot at levelling the series by winning the third and final Test of the series, not only will they have to select the right players on paper, but they will also need all of them to perform to the best of their abilities.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The memories of the 3-0 Test defeat at the hands of the Indian team must’ve been as fresh as the smell of newly varnished furniture when the Dinesh Chandimal led-side arrived in India earlier this month. Although the island nation side put up staunch resistance in the first Test at Kolkata, the second Test at Nagpur had them reliving the ghosts of the past as they crumbled to a crushing defeat by an innings and 239 runs. The third Test between India and Sri Lanka begins on December 2 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi.

With the third Test at just a few days distance, selection conundrum must be a raging issue inside the Sri Lankan dressing room. While the side has failed to do notably well in any of the three departments, in particular, the management will know better than to tinker around with the team combination too much. One compulsory change will have to be made for spinner Rangana Herath, who’s been ruled out of the upcoming Delhi Test with a back injury.

If Sri Lanka are to have any shot at levelling the series by winning the third and final Test of the series, not only will they have to select the right players on paper, but they will also need all of them to perform to the best of their abilities. At such a crucial juncture, how the selection procedure pans out, will be an interesting affair to observe.

Here is Sri Lanka’s predicted XI for the third game:

Openers: Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama

With a combined score of 32 runs in the first Test and 82 runs between the two, the opening pair of Dimuth Karunaratne and Sadeera Samarawickrama hasn’t been an effective one for Sri Lanka in the Test series. However, replacing any of them would entail the risk of upsetting the left hand-right hand opening balance, which the team would definitely not want. Hence, the opening slots may as well stay reserved for Karunaratne and Samarawickrama.

Samarawickrama has been having one of the most forgettable tours of his life with scores of 23, 0, 13 and o in the last 4 innings that he’s played. On the other hand, Karunaratne only has the 51 run innings that he played in the first innings of the Nagpur Test to show for his batting efforts. Both batsmen will have to put their hands up and give their team a solid foundation to build their innings upon at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

Middle-order: Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal

In case Lahiru Thirimanne is to miss the third Test as reports suggest right now, Roshen Silva and the experienced, Angelo Mathews can be at the helm of the Lankan middle-order. Roshen Silva, who has averaged an impressive 48 in First-Class Cricket will be making his debut into the foray of international Test Cricket. Mathews will attempt to recreate his half century from the Kolkata Test and extend it to big innings, in order to give the team’s batting attack a backbone. Skipper, Dinesh Chandimal has been leading the team from the front in the batting department. He has already accrued 166 runs in the two Tests and can be expected to continue with his string of good scores to augment his team’s total, be it in putting up a target or attempting to reach one.

Wicketkeeper: Niroshan Dickwella

The Lankan team doesn’t have too many choices when it comes to donning the keeping gloves. Niroshan Dickwella has already established himself to be a regular and dependable set of hands behind the stumps, barring the rare slip-up. Further, he can also aid the batting down the order, armed with his more than handy skills with the willow.

All-rounder: Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka

Considering the below-par batting performances that the Sri Lankans had put up on a playable track as that in Nagpur, they may be tempted to go in with an extra all-rounder, providing the team with that extra bit of edge at the tail-end. Dhananjaya de Silva has a fair record as a batting-allrounder with 726 runs and 5 wickets in the 10 Tests that he’s played for his nation and can get the nod to play in the third Test. Dasun Shanaka, who has impressed many by picking up 5 wickets in the Kolkata Test can get another chance to shoulder the all-rounding responsibilities.

Fast Bowlers: Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage

Suranga Lakmal startled quite a few Indian batsman with his pace bowling on the bouncy, green-top wicket at Kolkata. Irrespective of what Feroz Shah Kotla has on offer in terms of the pitch, a good fast bowler is always a boost for any cricketing side and as a result, Lakmal can be expected to spearhead the pace attack against India. Lahiru Gamage, on the other hand, was criticised a fair bit for straying in his line and length but he might still prove to be indispensable to his side if he bowls to salvage his pride and that of his nation’s. Shanaka and Mathews can also lend support to the two front-line pacers with their part-time bowling expertise.

Also read: India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: India Predicted XI

Spinner: Dilruwan Perera

Rangana Herath’s absence is bound to hurt Sri Lanka’s chances of winning the third Test and Dilruwan Perera will have to bowl, body and soul, to demolish the strong Indian batting line-up. He has already picked up 6 wickets in the two Test matches and will only look to go from strength to strength at Delhi. His workload in the spin department can be shared by de Silva, who can come in handy with his off-break bowling.