The World Test Championship is fully underway as the 2nd Ashes Test is due to begin on the same day as the 1st Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand Test begins.
This is an important Test series for both teams, and not just because of the Championship.
New Zealand have a chance of having two consecutive Test series wins in the subcontinent, if they can beat Sri Lanka at home, after they won their Test series against Pakistan in the UAE last year.
New Zealand are well led and well respected, and despite the lack of Test Cricket played, their performances are never lacking. They have a brilliant work ethic that a lot of other teams could learn from.
Kane Williamson is a brilliant captain and top order batsman who has a terrific record in Asia, where he averages 50.7 in Test Cricket, with five centuries to his name, one of which came in Sri Lanka in 2012.
New Zealand, also have the chance of being the no.1 Test team when they head to Australia at the end of this year, if they can beat Sri Lanka 2-0. Currently India are the number 1 ranked Test side, on 113 points, but a whitewash series win for New Zealand, currently on 109 points, would see them overtake India as the number 1 side.
Sri Lanka on the other hand have a point to prove after losing 3-0 to England late last year. With new captain, Dimuth Karunaratne at the helm though, they are starting to come together, as was shown in their last Test series, which they famously won, beating South Africa in South Africa earlier in 2019.
With former captain, Dinesh Chandimal and veteran Angelo Mathews back in the Test side, this will add much needed experience to the team, which has seen as many downs as it has ups in recent times.
The venue for the first Test, Galle, is a happy hunting ground for Sri Lanka, who have won five of their last seven Tests at this ground.
With turn expected to play it’s part early on in the Test, both sides will be looking to their spinners to make an impact and New Zealand are well equipped with three spinners at their disposal.
This is Sri Lanka’s first Test series at home since the retirement of Rangana Herath, but they will be looking to Akila Dananjaya to cause New Zealand problems.
Dananjaya, relatively inexperienced, with only five Tests to his name, has an incredible record at home, where he has taken 17 wickets in only three Tests, and taken a five-wicket haul twice.
This is sure to be an exciting series and one that I cannot wait for.
The Test begins on Wednesday 14th August at 06:30 SA time.