All you need to know about West Indies Championship Round III
14 May 2022
The Island Nation is currently facing internal turmoil that has given a high rise in violence and angst within the country. Yet, far away in Chattogram, a group of fine men will look to shut white noise from their minds and take the field to play cricket. Musical chairs with captaincy, players' unacceptable behaviour, and politics have shackled Lankan cricket for a long time.
Sri Lanka are set to lock horns with Bangladesh for a two-Test series. The last time the two sides met in red-ball cricket, Lanka prevailed over Bangladesh and will look to take inspiration from that. Despite not doing well on spin-friendly pitches in India, the surfaces in Bangladesh will be much to their liking.
Sri Lanka are yet to lose a Test series in Bangladesh, a record the Dimuth Karunaratne-led side will look to maintain. The visitors have won 6 out of 8 matches and drawn 2, which is a testament to their domination against the hosts.
Karunaratne's record as the leader is satisfactory, having won 7, lost 6, and drawn five matches. However, he is yet to taste a defeat against Bangladesh.
The batting revolves around Karunaratne. The left-hander will stay glued in the middle while other batters play their part. He has been Sri Lanka's best batsman by a fair margin, amassing 1,096 runs in the past 24 months.
Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Niroshan Dickwella will want to show more application with the bat in hand.
Kusal has not had the best of times since his 100 against Zimbabwe. He has scored four consecutive ducks in this period, but his last Test outing showed glimpses of his calibre.
Dhananjaya made merry the last time he came up against Bangladesh. The technically-sound batsman will want to exhibit his class yet again.
Niroshan is a maverick. His temperament off and chirpiness on the field has always led to him attracting eyeballs. The explosive batter could play a decisive role down the order.
Veterans such as Angelo Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal will once again be under the scanner. Both have not been as consistent as the team would have wanted.
Another player who will want to repeat his heroics is Oshada Fernando. However, the stylish right-hander, who helped Sri Lanka beat South Africa at Durban, is witnessing quieter times with the bat.
Spin it to win it
Spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama will be at the forefront of the Lankan attack.
Embuldeniya has been their best player, extracting even any little purchase the pitch might offer. The left-arm spinner has accuracy and consistency that spells doom in any condition.
Jayawickrama impressed everyone during his outing against India, where he bogged down the likes of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and Hanuma Vihari. He has a six-for against Bangladesh, which he registered on his Test debut.
Asitha Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne are to share the fast bowling load, while Matthews will come in as a relief. Kasun Rajitha, who last played in 2020, might get a sneak in as the senior pro.
New head coach Chris Silverwood will want to forget his past results and look to build a better legacy with Karunaratne and Co.
A resounding victory here takes them into superstardom. It will not be an easy mission for Sri Lanka but rest assured they will give their utmost to relive their glorious past.