Sri Lanka V Zimbabwe – Only Test – Fantasy Preview

Zimbabwe head into this test match full of confidence after they upset Sri Lanka at home & won the ODI series in what was truly an underdog story to remember, Sri Lanka on the other hand have continued their average form in 2017. 

We’re in for a very interesting contest as this one-off test match follows a historic ODI series that had to be seen to be believed, Zimbabwe claiming their maiden-ODI series win in Sri Lanka. Given the amount of success they had in that series and the positive vibes overflowing in the Zimbabwe camp, they would be very reluctant to leave out the players who were involved in that ODI series (excluding Solomon Mire who isn’t in the test squad). It was good to see Hamilton Masakadza return to some form at the top of the order after going through a rough patch for a while, answering his critics with a century in the third ODI and 73 in the 5th & final match that decided the series. Expect Craig Ervine to play a significant part for Zimbabwe in this test, he’s probably best-suited for this format of the game due to his patience at the top of the order and predominantly plays the anchor role which has seen him go on to score big in the past. Zimbabwe will most-likely use their four spinners in the bowling department which takes some of the pressure off of the seamers to bowl continuously at one end, the likes of Cremer, Raza, Williams and Waller should share the workload, they even have Ervine up their sleeve if required.

Angelo Mathews just recently announced that he’ll be stepping down from the Sri Lankan captaincy across all formats to allow the future-leaders to step up and prepare for the future tournaments, the latest one of them being Dinesh Chandimal who was announced the new-test captain for Sri Lanka. You can almost sense a feeling of deja vu in terms of captaincy relations, Steve Smith hadn’t been selected in the first ODI roughly four years ago, only to be selected in place of the injured Michael Clarke which led to his rise in fortunes as the current Australian captain. Chandimal’s situation is very similar, he’s a superb player who has found himself in and out of the side this year on numerous occasions, only to be named in the test squad and pick up the captaincy alongside of it! This is a mus win for the hosts, they’ve been utterly embarrassed as they became the first team to lose to Zimbabwe in a series, becoming the current laughing stock of International cricket which is a pretty harsh statement, but it is warranted. On the positive side, Sri Lanka will welcome back Rangana Herath and Dimuth Karunaratne who are undoubtedly two match winners in this format of the game. Sri Lanka have a much more experienced test side compared to the ODI team that lost to Zimbabwe, that could mean the home side are out for some serious revenge with a big performance that could catch the visitors off guard.

Top 5 fantasy picks | Zimbabwe | Only test | Colombo

  • Craig Ervine
  • Hamilton Masakadza
  • Tendai Chatara
  • Graeme Cremer
  • Sikandar Raza

Top 5 fantasy picks | Sri Lanka | Only test | Colombo

  • Dimuth Karunaratne
  • Kusal Mendis
  • Rangana Herath
  • Dinesh Chandimal
  • Suranga Lakmal

Team XI’s

Team News | Zimbabwe

Expect to see a similar-looking side to the one that featured in the five-game ODI series just recently. With no Solomon Mire or Chamu Chibhabha in the squad, one of Tarisai Musakanda or Regis Chakabva might have to open alongside Hamilton Masakadza. Another decision is whether to taken in the extra batsman who would be Ryan Burl, or chance their luck with a specialist bowler. Tendai Chatara should get the nod over Chris Mpofu, but their is some doubt given that Chatara hasn’t played in a test match since 2014.

Zimbabwe (possible) – 1. Hamilton Masakadza 2. Tarisai Musakanda/Regis Chakabva 3. Sikandar Raza 4. Craig Ervine 5. Sean Williams 6. Malcolm Waller 7. Peter Moor (wk) 8. Graeme Cremer (c) 9. Donald Tiripano 10. Carl Mumba 11. Tendai Chatara/Chris Mpofu. 

Team News | Sri Lanka

With Dhananjaya de Silva being dropped for this test match, that leaves a vacancy in the middle order. That spot should be snaffled up by Angelo Mathews who has just stepped down as Sri Lankan captain, relieving him of the duties which allows him to focus on his individual performance for the team.

Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne 2. Upul Tharanga 3. Kusal Mendis 4. Dinesh Chandimal (c) 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Asela Gunaratne 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk) 8. Dilruwan Perera 9. Rangana Herath 10. Suranga Lakmal 11. Lakshan Sandakan. 

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