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England v Sri Lanka 3rd Test, Lord’s -- Preview

Point to prove for visitor as host looks to complete whitewash

England v Sri Lanka 3rd Test, Lord’s -- Preview - Cricket News
England has made the perfect start to its international summer, winning both the Tests so far against Sri Lanka. While it secured a comprehensive innings and 88-run victory in the first Test at Headlingley, Sri Lanka put up some fight in the second Test before going down by nine wickets in Chester-le-Street.
 
However, England must guard against complacency as it chases a whitewash at Lord’s in the third and final Test, starting on Thursday (June 9). Despite the losses, Sri Lanka has shown clear signs of improvement, and the touring side will have a point to prove ahead of the limited-overs leg of the tour.
 
Recent contests have seen England lapse late on in a series. It lost the second Test both in the Caribbean and at home against New Zealand last year as both series ended in 1-1 draws, before going down in the fifth Test after the Ashes had been won, Australia reducing the margin to 3-2. There was a similar reverse earlier this year in South Africa, where England – 2-0 up after the second Test was drawn - lost the fourth Test by 280 runs in Centurion.
 
Mark Ramprakash, England’s batting coach, said the side was conscious of its habit of slipping up late on, but hoped the occasion of a Test at the home of cricket would help every England player raise his game. 
 
"A Test match at Lord's is the pinnacle of your career, or certainly one of the highlights," said Ramprakash. "So all the players have plenty to play for individually, and that will help collectively as a team.
 
"I hope lessons will have been learned because this group of players have come unstuck in the last Test, most recently in South Africa. That wasn't a good feeling, so we hope the guys will want to finish the job off this week."
 
For its part, England has most of the bases covered. Sri Lanka's second-innings resistance in Durham meant Alastair Cook became the first Englishman to reach the 10,000-run mark. Moeen Ali and James Anderson stood out with bat and ball respectively. Ali finally ended his run drought by scoring an unbeaten 155 in the first innings, while Anderson finished with match figures of 8 for 94.
 
Nick Compton will be under some pressure after admitting before the second Test that he needed runs to secure his place. Compton, though, only managed nine in the first innings in Durham but was 22 not out the second time around as England eased its way to a series win.
 
Steven Finn’s form is also a bit of a concern – he has taken just four wickets in two Tests at 34.50. Finn's place is under threat from Jake Ball, the uncapped seamer, although England appears ready to retain the Middlesex quick.
 
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, is still working to fill the void left by the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. However, its fightback in the second innings in Durham will be a huge positive for the side. Having become the first team since New Zealand in 1958 to be dismissed for under 120 in three successive Test innings, Sri Lanka made 475 in the second innings of the second Test. Dinesh Chandimal scored a measured 126, while Angelo Mathews, the captain, also worked his way into form with a fluent 80.
 
"I expect them to continue improving," Ramprakash said of Sri Lanka. "I thought they made a really good fist of it in that second innings -- Chandimal was exceptional. They're growing in confidence. The pitch will be better here, the conditions may be more to their liking."
 

Kusal Perera, the wicketkeeper-batsman who was a late addition to the squad after his drugs ban was overturned, is likely to replace Milinda Siriwardana, the injured allrounder.
 
Shaminda Eranga, the fast bowler, was reported for a suspect action during the second Test and has undergone tests at the England and Wales Cricket Board's training centre at Loughborough University. Although Eranga is still available to play, Sri Lanka could give a debut to Chaminda Bandara, the uncapped 29-year-old left-arm pacer, in the absence of the injured Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera.

Teams (from):
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Joe Root, James Vince, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Jake Ball. 

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Rangana Herath, Chaminda Bandara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Shaminda Eranga, Milinda Siriwardana. 

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