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Rain threat looms over first Sri Lanka v West Indies Test

The host will want to reign supreme in familiar conditions, while Jason Holder, the new captain of the visiting side, must try and start his stint on a high note

Rain threat looms over first Sri Lanka v West Indies Test - Cricket News
Sri Lankan cricketer Dilruwan Perera (C) and teammates celebrate after the dismissal of unseen Pakistan batsman Younis Khan during the third day of the opening Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on June 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Sri Lanka has been through a rebuilding phase for some time now. However, till its last Test against India, it hasn’t been without the reassuring presence of Kumar Sangakkara, whose experience and guiding hand they could always fall back on. With Sangakkara having called it a day, it will be a relatively inexperienced squad that faces off against West Indies in the first of two Tests beginning on Wednesday (October 13) at Galle International Stadium with the threat of rain hanging overhead.
 
Being the three senior members of the squad, Angelo Mathews, the captain, Dinesh Chandimal and Rangana Herath will hold the key to Sri Lanka’s hopes. 
 
Mathews is the fulcrum of Sri Lanka's batting, and captaincy has done wonders for his batsmanship: Mathews the captain averages 68.80 as against his overall career average of 52.06, which isn’t bad either.
 
At the top, while Kaushal Silva lent solidity with his composed approach and strokeplay, Dimuth Karunaratne was in mediocre form against India. The two of them will open the innings, with Lahiru Thirimanne likely be given a chance at No. 3. Chandimal is also expected to play a key role, most probably at No. 5.
 
With the ball, Dhammika Prasad was in searing form against India with 15 scalps from three Tests. Sri Lanka has options to complement Prasad, like Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep. Among spinners, Rangana Herath should be in the XI, with Dilruwan Perera and Tharindu Kaushal providing back-up options. 
 
West Indies is on tour under a brand new captain in Jason Holder. A two-Test series gives little time to bounce back and West Indies will need to get accustomed to the new style of captaincy quickly.
 
West Indies has enough bowling resources at its disposal, with senior pacers Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach in the mix along with Shannon Gabriel around as well. Among spinners, West Indies has Devendra Bishoo, the legspinner, and Jomel Warrican, the uncapped left-arm spinner. That apart, Marlon Samuels's offbreaks can also come in handy. 
 
Among the batsmen, Kraigg Brathwaite has been in reasonable form in domestic cricket and is likely to be partnered at the top by Rajendra Chandrika, who opened with him in the tour game. Darren Bravo will have an important role to ply at No. 3 and will be expected to hold the innings together. There’s a seasoned campaigner in Samuels after that, but Jermaine Blackwood, Shai Hope and Shane Dowrich are all very new to international cricket and it remains to be seen how they fare in the turning tracks of Sri Lanka. 
A lot of what happens, or doesn’t, would, however, depend on the weather – the forecast is for heavy rain or thundershowers on each of the five match days.
 
Teams (from)

Sri Lanka:
 Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Kusal Mendis, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Tharindu Kaushal, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera.

West Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.

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