Buoyant West Indies out to deepen Sri Lanka’s woes
Sri Lankan cricket's woes of the past 12 months could be extended for at least another fortnight unless the visitors can rise to the challenge of a buoyant West Indies team in the two-Test series starting on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
Swept 3-0 in the One-Day International contest after being edged 2-1 in the tour-opening T20 International duel, Dimuth Karunaratne's team have offered little by way of confidence-building performances in the lead-up to the encounters with a Caribbean squad brimming with confidence after their unexpected successes in a similar two-match series in Bangladesh last month.
Having replaced Jason Holder as full-time Test captain on the strength of his handling of the underdog West Indies for the Tests in Chattogram and Dhaka, Kraigg Brathwaite leads a home team strengthened by the return of the former skipper and experienced batsman Darren Bravo.
Both were among a dozen first-choice players who opted out of the Bangladesh captain due to Covid-19 concerns. In their absence, debutants Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner took their opportunities with both hands and are predictably retained for this first series of an extended season of international cricket in the West Indies.
West Indies' main concern going into the first Test appears to be finding the ideal balance to the team as Holder's return to duty as one of the premier all-rounders in the international game gives the selectors the option of playing an additional spinner depending on the condition of the pitch.