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Sri Lanka vs England, 3rd Test, Preview: Joe Root and Co eye a historic away series whitewash

Akila Dananjaya will miss this game.

Jack Leach
England bowler Jack Leach and Jos Buttler appeal. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Very rarely in recent time has an away team has dominated like England in their ongoing Sri Lanka tour. After winning the ODI series by 3-1, then swept the island nation in the one-off T20 International and now are on the verge of a historic whitewash in the Tests. Clearly, Joe Root and his men wouldn’t want to settle to less than 3-0 when they will step out on the field at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.

The hosts are having a plethora of problems and with their regular captain Dinesh Chandimal ruled out from this game as well, their woes are increased. The previous Test match was their best chance to overcome England and at one stage, were the favourites to chase down 301. But Angelo Mathews’ untimely wicket hurt their chances and even Niroshan Dickwella couldn’t bail the team out of trouble. They will need a herculean effort to beat the opponents and avoid a whitewash.

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Team Combinations

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will miss the services of Akila Dananjaya in this match as he was reported for suspect bowling action after the series opener. He is in currently in Australia undergoing the test of his bowling action. Lakshan Sandakan will replace him in the XI most likely. Also, Kaushal Silva’s poor form might see him being benched for Danushka Gunathilaka who has joned the squad to replace Dinesh Chandimal. Meanwhile, Charith Asalanka has been released from the squad.

Probable XI: Kaushal Silva/Danushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Suranga Lakmal (c), Lakshan Sandakan.

England

England, for the first time in this series, have announced their playing XI prior to the game. Sam Curran is out injured and fit Jonny Bairstow will replace and bat at number three. He will be tourists’ fifth batsman at the position in last five Test matches. James Anderson has also been rested as Stuart Broad will be taking the new ball and playing his first game on the tour. Ben Foakes will continue to keep wickets.

Playing XI: Joe Burns, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes (wk), Adil Rashid, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.

Focus will be on

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)

He had previously made a habit of scoring big. But this series has been a relatively poor one for Karunaratne at the top of the order. He looked in the previous match and the dead rubber might just be the occasion for him to regain his mojo. Having said that, the left-hander will have to counter some exceptional spin bowling to come out on top and if he does, Sri Lanka can dream of pulling one back on the visitors.

Stuart Broad (England)

Stuart Board will be hitting the straps for the first time on this tour and will have a point to prove straight away. For the first time, he was dropped from the XI after forming such a superb association with James Anderson with the new ball. Though his record in Asia has been mediocre and would want to change it quickly.

Head to Head

Matches – 33 | Sri Lanka won – 8 | England – 14 | Draw – 11

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD

Live Streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 10:00 IST and local

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