Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2021, 1st Test: Match Preview, Playing XI and broadcast details

Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2021, 1st Test: Match Preview, Playing XI and broadcast details

This will be West Indies’ first visit to Sri Lanka in the World Test Championship era which has made cricket’s longest format dead-rubber proof.

Rahkeem Cornwall and Kemar Roach
Rahkeem Cornwall and Kemar Roach. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Quite remarkably, West Indies have never won a Test in Sri Lanka since… the time they have been playing the format.

Even as the sample size is not too large – the Windies are not frequent travellers to the Lankan shores, having played only 11 Tests (lost seven) all told – Sri Lanka would be chuffed with history being on their side before the series-start in a format they have not been their best at since long: Sri Lanka have won only two of the 12 completed Tests since December 2019, of which one came against Zimbabwe in January 2020.

Following that was a long win-less streak, which the team snapped in their most recent Test outing – against Bangladesh in April 2021. In between, Sri Lanka also travelled to the West Indies earlier this year for a two-Test series, with both ending in a draw.

This will be West Indies’ first visit to Sri Lanka in the World Test Championship era which has made cricket’s longest format dead-rubber proof. There will be plenty of room for correction for both Sri Lanka and the West Indies, after enduring a forgettable inaugural WTC cycle, when they finished seventh and eighth respectively. And while West Indies initiated their 2021-23 campaign with a 1-1 draw against Pakistan, Sri Lanka will be playing their first series in the new cycle now.

Asia has never been the easiest assignment for West Indies, but the memories of historic conquest against Bangladesh, no less in the absence of most first-choice players from earlier this year, would be fresh in mind.

To the end of personnel, they are much better equipped, not least by the addition of Shannon Gabriel, who missed out on the Pakistan Tests in August with a hamstring injury. Veerasammy Permaul, having last played the format in 2015, will be the spin option alongside Jomel Warrican and Rahkeem Cornwall.

As for the Dimuth Karunaratne-led Sri Lanka, the team is bolstered by incoming Angelo Mathews, but also slightly weakened by the absence of Lahiru Thirimanne, missing out due to family reasons. With both encounters set to be played at the spin paradise Galle, Lakshan Sandakan, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama and Lasith Embuldeniya will remain interested throughout.

There are farewells on line too, with Mickey Arthur set to leave his coaching position as he embarks on his Derbyshire stint. The team under him generated lukewarm returns but recently managed to impress at the T20 World Cup.

Pitch and conditions

Sri Lanka has always been a spin-to-win of sorts venue; however, there will be something for pacers too, with overcast conditions forecast nearly throughout this game. As is always the case in the subcontinent, the first couple of days will be the best for batting, with conditions becoming spin-conducive by the tick of the clock thereafter.

Playing combination for SL vs WI

Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka’s middle-order looks a lot sturdier with the addition of Angelo Mathews alongside Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal, who will be on with the keeping duties in Niroshan Dickwella’s absence. Skipper Karunaratne will be at the top alongside the reliable Pathum Nissanka, who scored a century in his maiden Test against West Indies earlier this year. Lasith Embuldeniya, returning after injury, is likely to be the spinner alongside Praveen Jayawickrama and Ramesh Mendis.

Predicted XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Dushmantha Chameera, Praveen Jayawickrama

West Indies

The visitors will also hope their unsettled opening combination finds some stability by the addition of uncapped Jeremy Solonzo, for whom selector Roger Harper has spoken highly. With John Campbell’s axing, Solonzo is likely to come into the fray at some point in time, even if not immediately. Holder is a default pick, as are Jermaine Blackwood, Rahkeem Cornwall and Roston Chase.

Predicted XI: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Shai Hope, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel/Jayden Seales

SL vs WI Head-to-Head

Played – 22 | SL – 9 | WI – 4 | Draw – 9

In Sri Lanka

Played – 11 | SL – 7 | WI – 0 | Draw – 4

SL vs WI Broadcast details

Match Timings – 10:00 AM Local

TV and Live Streaming– Fancode