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Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs West Indies, West Indies in Sri Lanka 2021/22, 2nd Test

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Some West Indies batters showed signs that they can handle such conditions in the big first-Test defeat, but they will need plenty of application and determination

Big Picture

How do you solve a problem like Galle? Well, winning the toss and batting first would be a start. But what else can you do?

The fact is, there are few grounds in world cricket where the toss plays such a significant role – on pitches that are known for taking exponential turn as the game wears on, only twice have teams batting fourth chased down a triple-digit total successfully here.

But, despite the nature and scale of the West Indies’ 187-run first-Test defeat, they would do well to put that out of their minds swiftly – better teams than them have suffered worse at this venue after all. In fact, rather than being alarmed, they should instead look at the seeds of potential that sprouted from the game and look to nurture them.

While their top order collapsed rather ignominiously in both innings, the way the lower order – particularly Joshua Da Silva – provided resistance, should give those batting further up a bit more confidence in showing positive intent; shouldering arms is quantifiably not the way to go in Galle.

As for their top order, Nkrumah Bonner’s second-innings 220-ball sojourn showed that application and resolve wasn’t beyond them. More of the same, and the visitors could be in with a shout.

The home side, meanwhile, will simply want to avoid complacency. The win was certainly of the feel-good variety, and one that would have cast the mind back to when such thrashings were de rigueur in Galle. But captain Dimuth Karunaratne, speaking ahead of the second Test, gave the air of a man that refused to be blinded by the nature of the victory.

He sounded out the prospect of potentially drafting in an extra batter on a pitch that is expected to take on turn even earlier this time around, and it would be little surprise to see Sri Lanka turn up with just the solitary seamer on Monday morning.

Form guide

Sri Lanka LLWLL (last five Tests, most recent first)
West Indies WWDDD

In the spotlight

Nkrumah Bonner was the only West Indian top order batter to record a 50-plus total in the first Test, and that too came amid what turned out to be West Indies’ death throes as they toiled in vain to halt Sri Lanka’s spin barrage. But what Bonner showed was that – even on a spiteful day-five turner – application and intent could get you far. In fact, he had already shown how adept he was at handling subcontinent pitches in West Indies’ remarkable series win over Bangladesh earlier this year; there, across two Tests Bonner racked up 231 runs at an average of 57.75. Bonner clearly has the chops to handle what Galle and Sri Lanka’s spinners throw at him, and West Indies will need for him to lead the way if they are to salvage anything from this series.
Like Bonner, Oshada Fernando has seemingly been entrusted with that all important No. 3 three slot, however he seems to have a peculiar hang-up about performing in front of his home fans. Oshada first broke on to the scene in Sri Lanka’s now near-mythical Test series win in South Africa, while he was also among Sri Lanka’s better batters in their Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year. However, his home average of 17.42 pales in comparison to his away one of 47.66. He looked largely uncomfortable at the crease in his two outings in the first Test, and Sri Lanka will be hoping for a much better showing this time around.

Team news

Sri Lanka will likely make just the one change from the first Test, with one of Dushmantha Chameera or Suranga Lakmal making way for an extra batter – possibly Charith Asalanka, who is in line for his Test debut.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt.), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Oshada Fernando, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva, 6 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 7 Charith Asalanka 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Lasith Embuldeniya, 10 Suranga Lakmal/Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Praveen Jayawickrama.

The concussion suffered by Jeremy Solazano resulted in Shai Hope being drafted in as a concussion substitute in the first Test. If Solazano does not recover in time, Hope will likely retain his place in the side. The visitors also went with a spin-heavy attack in the first Test and that is unlikely to change.

West Indies (possible): 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt.), 2 Jeremy Solozano/Shai Hope, 3 Nkrumah Bonner, 4 Roston Chase, 5 Jermaine Blackwood, 6 Kyle Mayers, 7 Rahkeem Cornwall, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Joshua da Silva (wk), 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Jomel Warrican/Jayden Seales

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is expected to be dry, which means we could see notable turn even as early as the first day. The weather though is what will keep the game from folding too early, with rain expected periodically across the five days.

Stats and trivia

  • With six consecutive 50-plus scores in Tests, Dimuth Karunaratne is one short of equalling the world record.
  • Sri Lanka are now unbeaten in five consecutive Tests, their longest such run since 2016, when they went six without defeat (including five straight wins).
  • In 28 attempts, the team batting fourth in Galle has won on nine occasions – though only two of those chases have been of three-digit targets.



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Women’s Ashes – Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath advance in ICC women’s T20I rankings

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Chamari Athapaththu breaks into top ten after showing strong form in the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers

Meg Lanning and Tahlia McGrath have moved up in the ICC Women’s T20I rankings among batters after guiding Australia to a 1-0 series victory in the T20I leg of the ongoing Ashes series. Lanning, the Australia captain, displaced Smriti Mandhana from third place, while McGrath vaulted up 29 places to 28th.
In the first T20I in Adelaide, McGrath followed up figures of 3 for 26 with an unbeaten 91 off 49 balls, including 13 fours and a six. Lanning also fired with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 64 off 44 balls as Australia hunted down 170 with nine wickets and three overs to spare. The second and third T20Is ended in no-results following lashing rain in Adelaide.
Shafali Verma regained the top spot on the table, leapfrogging Beth Mooney, who was sidelined from the Ashes games after undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw. Verma (726) now has a two-point lead over Mooney.

Among allrounders, Ellyse Perry dropped out of the top ten in the list that continues to be led by New Zealand’s Sophie Devine.



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Recent Match Report – Dhaka vs Sunrisers 7th Match 2021/22

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Nazmul Islam impresses with maiden four-for as Sylhet record first win

Sylhet Sunrisers 100 (Mahmudullah 33, Nazmul 4-18) beat Minister Group Dhaka 101 for 3 (Anamul 45, Mashrafe 2-21) by seven wickets

How the match played out

Sylhet Sunrisers opened their account in BPL 2022 with a seven-wicket win over Minister Group Dhaka. It was a clinical win, too. They skittled Dhaka for 100 in 18.4 overs and then knocked off the runs with three overs to spare.

Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam took his maiden four-for in T20s to hasten the collapse. However, two of his four scalps were aided by poor lbw calls.

Mohammad Naim was given out despite getting a glove while attempting a reverse sweep, while Andre Russell was sent back despite getting an inside edge onto his front pad. Tamim Iqbal, too, seemed unsatisfied with his lbw decision; the ball having appeared to have struck him even though he was well forward.

Dhaka went up in a protest as Mahmudullah was seen talking to the on-field umpires, even as some of their other players engaged with the fourth umpire. The absence of DRS suddenly became a massive talking point.

Sylhet made light work of the chase, though, with Anamul Haque hitting 45. He fell with two to win, before Ravi Bopara hit the winning runs.

Big hit

It was Sylhet’s bowling that put Dhaka on the back foot. Sohag Gazi and captain Mosaddek Hossain reduced them to 17 for three in the sixth over. Gazi finished early, taking 2 for 17 off his four overs.

Nazmul continued the good work by bowling stump-to-stump. He removed Naim and Russell in the 13th over. His third scalp was that of Mahmudullah caught at short fine-leg, before trapping Shuvagata Hom lbw for 21.

The spinners dried up the boundaries, as Dhaka managed their first six only in the 16th over. Taskin Ahmed then rounded off the innings with three late strikes, finishing with 3 for 22 from his 2.4 overs.

Big miss

Dhaka’s top four had another poor outing, of particular concern being Naim and Jahurul Islam, who are yet to fire.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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IPL 2022 – KL Rahul on captaincy

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“I’d rather have a longer run as a successful captain and leader, than start off with something big and then go downwards.”

The past week has been bittersweet for KL Rahul. He became the joint-highest paid player in IPL history when Lucknow Supergiants signed him for INR 17 crore, but also captained India to the wrong end of a 3-0 sweep, away in South Africa. His own contributions in series were scores of 12, 55 and 9.
This could bother a few, but Rahul insists he’s still getting a grip of captaincy at the national level. In a sense, the South Africa tour was a first for Rahul on a number of fronts. He had never captained a team in List A cricket previously and outside of Punjab Kings in the IPL, he had captained in only a solitary first-class game across formats, when he led India A against England Lions in January 2019. At the end of the South Africa tour, he had led India in a Test match, and in three ODIs.

“For me it was my first time as leading. It was great, actually – there is so much you learn from losses and losses make you so much stronger than starting off with victories,” Rahul told India Today.

Rahul likened his captaincy journey to his Test career: “slow and steady.” He started off in the middle order on the Australia tour of 2014-15, but it wasn’t until 2016-17 that he nailed down a permanent spot. Then between 2018-2020, he hit another ough patch and found himself out, before concussion ruled Mayank Agarwal out of the first England Test earlier in the year.

This opened the doors for Rahul’s return to the Test side at a time when he thought a comeback was unlikely. Until then, he’d been pencilled in as a middle order batting option. He ended the series with 315 runs in four Tests, second-most for India on tour, and hasn’t looked back since.

“My career has always been that way: I have always got things slowly,” he said. “I have always had to start with a punch or a hit. It happened with me with my Test career. It happened with how my journey as a cricketer has gone – it has always been a slow and steady thing. So I am quite confident my captaincy also will be similar.”

With Virat Kohli having resigned from Test captaincy, India are on the lookout for a new full-time captain. There is Rohit Sharma and, of course, Rahul, while some believe Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant could also be in contention. That tricky decision is for the selectors to make, but Rahul, now a veteran of 43 Tests, is quietly confident in his abilities.

“I’d rather have a longer run as a successful captain and leader, than start off with something big and then go downwards.”

KL Rahul

“I am quite confident in my leadership skills and I know that I can bring the best out of the players and I know I can do the job for the team, for the country, for my franchise,” he said. “I am not someone who judges myself based on the results. There are certain boxes that I need to tick as a leader and if I am doing all of those things and if my team is happy with how I am leading them, that’s the most important thing.

“And that’s what matters to me. And I know eventually the results will follow as well and the success will stay there for longer. I’d rather have a longer run as a successful captain and leader, than start off with something big and then go downwards. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, the best is yet to come.”

What did he take away from his maiden ODI captaincy stint in South Africa? Head coach Rahul Dravid, for one, felt Rahul did a “decent job and will get better.”

“There were massive learnings,” Rahul said. “We are at a stage right now where we have World Cups as the focus. We are working towards certain things. We are working towards getting better as a team and learning.

“I feel like we’ve played some really good cricket over the last four or five years, but it is also time for a little bit of… for us to get better and transform our white-ball cricket. And that’s been the chat. I don’t use that an excuse for not winning, but we are a work in progress as a team.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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