England will look to seal yet another home series victory over a Sri Lankan team which still looks decidedly pedestrian with the ball and is lacking their captain Tillekeratne Dilshan, who scored 193 in the Second Test at Lord’s.
James Anderson will return at the expense of Steven Finn, who took four wickets in Sri Lanka’s first innings at Lord’s but was generally wayward. Kevin Pietersen will look to build on his encouraging second innings knock of 72, while skipper Andrew Strauss is in need of a big score after just 24 runs in three innings so far this summer.
As mentioned, Dilshan is missing so Kumar Sangakkara will take the captaincy reigns in his absence, mere weeks after resigning the position. Suraj Randiv was the tourists’ most impressive bowler in the game against Essex, but is unlikely to oust Rangana Herath. Sri Lanka will look for a greater impact from Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof who both had hugely disappointing games in North London.
Not good. We may just escape without rain on the opening day but interruptions throughout the first three or four days are highly likely. Frustrating that inclement weather has returned to the country just as the Test season kicks off.
James Anderson. England’s attack at Lord’s was noticeably lacking in variety and indeed short on deliveries that threatened the stumps. Anderson bowled beautifully at Sophia Gardens in the First Test before his injury and his absence only served to prove how integral he is to the team these days.
Kumar Sangakkara. He has an ordinary record in England but showed signs of form with 138 against Essex. Much responsibility is on his shoulders as stand-in captain, batting at three behind two inexperienced openers and with Sri Lanka needing to win the game to square the series.