Sri Lanka v Australia – 2nd Test, Galle
Sri Lanka and Australia move south for the 2nd Test to the beautiful coastal town of Galle with the tourists no doubt still reeling from their surprising 1st Test defeat to the hosts. After knocking the Sri Lankan’s over for 117 in the 1st innings, Steve Smith’s side would have been confident of victory, even after being bowled out for 203 themselves. Kusal Mendis (tipped up in this column) had other ideas and his 2nd innings 176 helped Sri Lanka to an incredible 106 run win, sealed dramatically in the fifth day Palekelle gloom. In a three match series, there can be no more room for error for the Aussies.
Galle is one of international crickets hottest locations, with energy-sapping humidity levels and year-round temperatures often soaring into the mid 30 degrees celsius. We can expect thunderstorms at times but nothing too nasty is currently forecast.
Here’s a list of sides 1st innings scores at Galle in the last five Tests, along with the winner/result of each Test in bold text –
2015 – 1st inns – 484 (SL), 2nd inns – 251 (WI) – SL
2015 – 1st inns – 183 (SL), 2nd inns – 375 (IND) – SL
2015 – 1st inns – 300 (SL), 2nd inns – 417 (PAK) – PAK
2014 – 1st inns – 451 (PAK), 2nd inns 533/9d (SL) – SL
2014 – 1st inns – 455 (SA), 2nd inns – 292 (SL) – SA
Batting in the 1st innings of the match in this period – Average 375
Batting in the 2nd innings of the match in this period – Average 373
NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings of the Test)
Form Guide & First Inns Runs
Here are Sri Lanka‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets –
117 (W) 288 (D) 101 (L) 91 (L) 133 (L) 294 (L) 200 (W) 484 (W) 201 (L) 306 (L) – Average 217
Here are Australia‘s last ten 1st innings scores in Tests, plus result in brackets. The 176/2 was a heavily rain-affected draw, so we won’t include that figure in the average –
203 (L) 505 (W) 562 (W) 176/2 (D) 551/3d (W) 583/4d (W) 224 (W) 559/9d (D) 556/4d (W) 481 (W) – Average 425
Sri Lanka‘s openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva both appear to enjoy Galle, having each registered Test hundreds on this ground with the former averaging over 49. Kusal Mendis can now be ranked in the world-class bracket his technique deserves post 176 whilst skipper Angelo Matthews and vice Chandimal (below) make up what is now suddenly a formidable 3,4,5 on these type of surfaces. Dhananjaya de Silva contributed with 60 handy runs on debut whilst the seam attack could be missing another quick in Nuwan Pradeep. This is a ground that suits spin, with Rangana Herath having taken 78 of his 313 Test wickets at Galle. Exciting left-arm wrist spin from Lakshan Sandakan contributed 7-107 in the Palekelle victory.
Steve Smith will be concerned that he was the only one of Australia‘s much vaunted batting line-up to pass 50 in Palekelle. Joe Burns is unproven in Asia and will be keen to support the out-of-sorts Warner (below) whilst Usman Khawaja needs more patience to contribute more than his 26 and 18 made in the 1st Test. Adam Voges averages 87 in Tests and could play a pivotal role if the top order fails again. Steve O’Keefe is injured and like for like left-arm spin from Jon Holland is likely to debut at Galle. Nathan Lyon passed 200 Test wickets but would have been upset with his 2nd innings display last time out; 27-2-108-2 were not the figures many expected. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood toiled manfully, sharing 11 wickets at Palekelle, but will find less assistance here.
Ones To Watch
Dinish Chandimal is Sri Lanka‘s best player and comes to a ground where he thrives, having made 3 hundreds at an average of 76 at Galle. With his side one-nil up, this would be a great time for his record to get even better at what is a favourite ground of his.
Australia rely so much on David Warner to get their innings off to a fast start. His return from injury at Pelekelle yielded just 1 run – his worst return in 52 Tests. If can rediscover the form that saw him make four tons in the Aussie summer, the tourists can bounce back – and quickly.
If Sri Lanka bat first, I recommend taking any OVER RUNS around the 275-278 mark
If Australia bat first, I recommend taking any OVER RUNS around the 350-353 mark
Top First Innings Batsman Market
Kusal Mendis is surprisingly behind Matthews and Chandimal and can be backed at 5.0 to top score for Sri Lanka.
Let us back David Warner to bounce back as Australia‘s leading run scorer at 4.33 – he will be keen to put his 1st Test runs famine fully behind him.
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