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Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test - Poms look to seal their first away series win since 2016

Spinners could lead the way for both the sides again
Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips
England dominated the first Test to go 1-0 up. (Getty Images)

Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips


A masterful display with the bat and ball gave England a comprehensive 211-run win over Sri Lanka in the 1st Test in Galle. The visitors will now move to Pallekele for the 2nd Test searching for their first overseas series win since 2016.

Sri Lanka


Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath’s farewell Test didn’t go to plan, as poor batting displays cost the Lions in Galle. Middle-order batsman Angelo Mathews was the lone success scoring 52 and 53, as no other Lankan batsman scored a half-century. 

The bowling was led by off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, who had figures of 5/75 and 2/94 to go with his scores of 21 and 30 with the bat. The Sri Lankan Captain Dinesh Chandimal is out of contention for the 2nd Test which further depletes their batting resources. 

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne and top-order batsman Kusal Mendis are expected to get among the runs to lead their hopes of a revival.

Perera's spin will be a big test for England (Getty Images)

England


England picked up their first overseas win since October 2016 after 13 unsuccessful attempts, largely because of Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali.

The debutant ‘keeper Foakes scored a patient 107 in the first innings and Jennings played a fantastic 146* in the second to lead England’s batting. Ali had figures of 4/66 and 4/71 returning his best match figures in an overseas Test match.

Jonny Bairstow is expected to be back from his injury giving a welcome selection headache for captain Joe Root. The only other change could see Jos Buttler or Ben Stokes come in at number three in the batting order.

Head-to-Head


England now lead Sri Lanka 13-8 in 32 Test matches with 11 drawn Tests. This will be their first meeting in Pallekele.

Match Up


Ali’s bowling has been one of England’s best passages of play in Galle. Everything clicked to perfection as the trio of spinners took 16 wickets amongst themselves, which was the second best performance since 1958 for England in Test cricket.

Moeen Ali has been consistently among the wickets in the recent matches (AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s troubles are multiplied with the injury to Chandimal and the retirement of Herath. Perera will be the main bowler for the hosts, given mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya’s inconsistencies in the longer format.

Key Statistics


  • Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera has taken over 2.5 wickets in 4 of his last 6 innings at home.
  • England’s Moeen Ali has taken over 2.5 wickets in 4 of his last 6 innings.
  • England have not won consecutive away Tests since December 2012.

Verdict


England had a dream game in Galle, but their recent overseas worries paint a grim picture. It is too early to say with conviction if they can repeat the performance in Pallekele.

The odds on a Sri Lanka win are 3.30 and England are paying 2.20 to win the 2nd Test, but I'm keeping these on the back burner because of the indifferent forms of both sides. Individual player picks offer value here with spin bowlers Dilruwan Perera and Moeen Ali likely to top the charts for their sides once again.

Best Bet: Dilruwan Perera Top Sri Lanka bowler in 1st Innings @ 2.25 – 3 units
Top England 1st Innings Bowler Pick: Moeen Ali @ 2.37 – 3 units

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