After a disappointing loss against Pakistan and India respectively in their last Test series at home, Sri Lanka will be itching to come good when they face West Indies in an intriguing two-Test series. The first Test is set to be played in Galle on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka, despite the losses, are going to start as favourites for they are a very strong side at home. They have some good players in their squad such as Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews amongst others, who can play an integral part in the series.
If one draws a comparison between the two teams, West Indies resemble a relatively inexperienced side with players such as Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Jermaine Blackwood and Jomel Warrican, who are all yet to make their mark in international cricket. So they are going to depend on the services of experienced cricketers such as Darren Bravo, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor to deliver.
The pitch in Galle is expected to assist the spinners more, which brings quality spinners into the picture such as Rangana Herath, who is a fine left arm bowler. But the West Indies also have a decent spinner in their ranks - Devendra Bishoo, who should be on top of his form against the quality Sri Lankan batsmen.
Thirimanne, who is expected to play an important role with the willow for Sri Lanka, is expected to bat at number three. "Because of Kumar Sangakkara batting at No. 3 we couldn't really accommodate Lahiru in the top three," ESPN Cricinfo quoted skipper Mathews as saying. "Your best batter always has to bat at No. 3. Now that Sangakkara has gone, Lahiru is pretty much the candidate to bat at No. 3."
The Sri Lankan camp are not worried of his form as he could not produce an innings of high quality neither against Pakistan nor India as their captain believes the batsman will come good in the series.
"Lahiru's form was a bit of a concern in the recent past, but we continue to have faith in him. We know he's a very good player. He's played the game for quite a long time, so we're pretty much sure he'll come good and deliver for us in this series," added Mathews.
West Indies, though, might be considered second favourite for the Test series, they cannot be ignored. The Caribbean nation will be eager to get back to their winning ways as well as they suffered a humiliating loss against Australia in their last Test series.
They have had a fresh change in their captaincy as they are set to be led by 23-year-old Jason Holder in the series.
Can such a change bring instant results? Only time will tell.
Where to watch live
The Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test has been scheduled for 10am local time (10am IST, 5:30am BST, ) start with live TV coverage in India on Ten Action with live streaming on tensports.com.
Viewers in the UK can watch the Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test live on British Eurosport 2 with live streaming on Eurosport Player.
US viewers can watch the Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test live on Willow Tv, live streaming on Willow TV Online.