Australia and Sri Lanka are set to lock horns in the first game of the two-match Test series, which starts on Wednesday, June 29, at the Galle International Stadium.
Sri Lanka, led by Dimuth Karunaratne, will be high on confidence after winning the ODI series 3-2. They sealed the fate of the series after winning three matches on the trot following their initial two-wicket defeat in the opening game. However, Test cricket is a different ball game altogether. Back in January, Australia won the Ashes 4-0, after which they beat Pakistan 1-0 away.
Pat Cummins has done an excellent job since taking over from Tim Paine last year before the start of the Ashes. Usman Khawaja has also been in excellent form ever since making his comeback during the Ashes.
Sri Lanka will go into the series after winning in Bangladesh a month ago. Angelo Mathews was the star of the show after he scored 199 in the Chattogram Test. The island nation has quite a few quality spinners in their ranks, and tackling them may not be a walk in the park for the Aussie batsmen.
Vishwa Fernando recently recovered from a concussion and is likely to share the pace attack with either Kasun Rajitha or Asitha Fernando.
SL VS AUS TEAM PREVIEWS
Sri Lanka is a dangerous team to play at home, and even though its recent record has not been great, it will certainly push this Australian team. One of the reasons that it is difficult to beat at home is because the conditions that it will set are tailor-made. Spin will play the central role in deciding the outcome of this match, and that is where the home team could get a leg up.
All indications are that three front-line spinners are going to play. Laith Embuldeniya, and Jeffrey Vandersay. Sri Lanka will also have Dhananjaya de Silva to chip in with the ball as needed, giving them plenty of spin options.
The lone fast bowler is not going to be too important because we don’t think he will bowl more than 10-12 overs in the entire match.
What about the batting, then? Well, Angelo Matthews and Dhananjaya de Silva are our picks for batters that you can bet on. Both of them are excellent against spin and also play the fast bowlers quite well. Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis were in terrific form during the ODI’s, while Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal were immensely experienced and effective in home conditions.
We can easily see this Sri Lankan team pushing the Aussies and even getting over the line in a tight contest.
Australia had success in Pakistan and is set to play the same eleven. We are not too sure if that is the right move, though. Unlike in Pakistan, where the reverse swing plays a massive role and wickets don’t deteriorate as fast, Sri Lanka will not have much for its fast bowlers.
The wickets will have to come from Nathan Lyon and Mitch Swepson. Lyon is a world-class bowler who is going to play a massive role in this series. Picking him as the Top Bowler for Australia in this match should be a no-brainer, but we are not at all convinced about having Mitch Swepson in the lineup.
Glenn Maxwell may have been a better choice with the batting firepower he brings! Australia will struggle for control, and Swepson could be a liability.
Australia’s batting lineup is also going to be tested. Steve Smith is a master of spin and so can be expected to score runs, but he has been in poor form for quite some time now. The rest of the batting does not always have it easy against spin.
Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, and Travis Head can all crumble quite quickly. The idea from Australia is going to be to play aggressively and always look for runs, but that is easier said than done.
Alex Carey down the order may be another good option for the Top Batsman Australia betting market. The odds available are very generous, and he also plays spin very well.
SRI LANKA VS. AUSTRALIA MATCH DETAILS
Match: Sri Lanka vs. Australia, 1st Test, Australia tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
Date and Time: June 29, 2022, Wednesday – July 3, Sunday, 10:00 AM IST
Venue: Galle International Stadium, Galle
There is a forecast for slight rains and overcast conditions at Galle between June 29 and July 3. The wicket has been a good one for the bowlers, unlike other Sri Lankan wickets. It does offer some support to fast bowlers on Day 1, but the spinners have always dominated here. The side batting first in the game shall be happy to have at least 400 runs on the board.
Galle International Stadium, Galle has been a good ground for the batsmen as well as the spinners. Batsmen enjoy the conditions on days 1, 2, and 3 when it is a good surface to play strokes. Spinners have dominated on days 4 and 5 at this ground. Fast bowlers do get some support from the wicket under overcast conditions and in the morning session.
TOSS: TO BAT
It is one of the toughest wickets in the world to bat in the fourth innings as the wicket turns into a minefield making life difficult against the spinners. The sides batting first have won most games at this venue. The skipper winning the toss should have no hesitation in batting first on this wicket.
PLAYING COMBINATIONS FOR SL VS AUS
After impressing in the white-ball series, spinner Jeffrey Vandersay has been included in the Test squad and is likely to be part of the playing XI for the first match. In the batting department, senior batters like Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Kusal Mendis will have a big role to play.
Predicted Playing XI:
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Chamika Karunaratne, Lasith Embuldeniya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kasun Rajitha.
As mentioned above, the inclusion of Steve Smith in the playing XI will give a huge boost to Australia. Veteran spinner Nathan Lyon will have a key role to play for the visitors, and the talented leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson might get a chance to showcase his talent as well.
Predicted Playing XI:
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson.
SL VS AUS HEAD TO HEAD
Played – 31
Sri Lanka – 4
Australia – 19
Draw – 8
SRI LANKA VS. AUSTRALIA MATCH PREDICTION
Australia has won their previous two-Test series against England and Pakistan, but their recent form hasn’t been great. It may not be an easy task for them to get past Sri Lanka.
The team batting first has a great chance of winning the match.
Prediction: The team batting first to win this encounter.