The second Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand starts tomorrow morning and we should be in for another fantastic Test.
Kane Williamson will be hurting after their first Test loss, despite his team putting in a good batting performance on a tough Galle wicket.
The batting performances from many of the New Zealand players, like Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Will Somerville and the lower order will have given Williamson reason to smile.
New Zealand’s record in Test Cricket since December 2017 has been exemplary. They have won their last five Test series’, one of which was in the UAE against Pakistan last year, and Williamson will be looking for his team to end this Test series on a winning note and start accumulating their World Test Championship points.
An area they will be looking to improve on from the first Test would be that of their specialist spinners, Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel. This pair took a combined eight wickets in the first innings of the first Test, but on days four and five, where the pitch should have been at its most helpful, they only managed one wicket each.
New Zealand are a team not afraid of hard work, as was shown in both their batting performances in the first Test. They will come back strong and Kane Williamson will be hopeful of making a meaningful contribution in the second Test, after two batting failures in the first.
Sri Lanka are a team on a high, having won their third Test in a row, when chasing a challenging total, with their captain Karunaratne leading from the front.
They have however been dealt a blow after spinning sensation, Akila Dananjaya has been reported for a second time in less than a year for a suspect bowling action.
Having been cleared in December 2018, the first Test last week was his first Test back since being cleared, and he thoroughly impressed with his first innings figures of 5-80, on Day 1 of the Test.
If Dananjaya does not pass his assessment in the next 12 days, he will be suspended for a year, which is the ICC’s punishment for any bowler who fails an assessment twice in a two-year cycle.
Seeing as Sri Lanka’s spin hopes rest heavily on Dananjaya now with the retirement of Rangana Herath, this would certainly disrupt Sri Lanka’s spin strategy.
For now though, Sri Lanka will be looking to win this Test series on home soil after the shock 3-0 loss to England late last year, and get their second successive Test series win.
New Zealand on the other hand will be looking to keep their successful record at this ground, the P Sara Oval intact.
They recorded their first win on Sri Lankan soil in 14 years at this ground in 2012, and if history repeats itself, New Zealand will level the series as they did after a first Test loss seven years ago.
I am hopeful that after the wonderful and exciting cricket showcased by both teams in the first Test, there will be much more interest shown in the second.
The second Test begins on 22nd August in Colombo at 06:30 SA time.