Galle Test preview: Sri Lanka v Australia


The second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia takes place at picturesque Galle, where the hosts will hope to extend their series lead as long as the Aussies continue to flounder against spin.

Sri Lanka's win in Pallekele came despite the fact that they were bowled out for 117 in their first innings, and the visitors were even worse. They had no answers against Rangana Herath and debutant leg-spinner Lakshan Sandakan, and that probably hasn't change in a few days.

Sri Lanka are set to be without their only decent paceman though, as Nuwan Pradeep has a hamsring injury. As such, either Vishwa Fernando or Asitha Fernando will get a debut, making Herath the only bowler (aside from Angelo Mathews) with more than 10 Test caps.

But as long as the spinners do the job on a deck custome made for them, the lack of pace should not be too big an issue. The Australians will hope their own spinners, with Jon Holland making his debut to partner Nathan Lyon, can also have some success.

Holland comes into the side as the only change, replacing Steve O'Keefe, who got injured in Pallekele. It was a nervy dash to Sri Lanka for Holland though, as his passport had expired and he had to scramble for a temporary one.

Sri Lanka's batting, on a neutral deck, is not as good as Ausralia's by any means, but this track has a wicket percentage of nearly 70 in favour of spinners. Herath is the leading wicket-taker (of people who are not Muttiah Muralitharan) here.

The Aussies must still be considered the favourites though, especially if their pacemen can make inroads on day one before the turn kicks in, as they look to hold on to their number one ranking.

Key players

For the hosts, it must be Rangana Herath. Sandakan is the new shiny toy, but Herath is the stalwart, and will look to add to the 10 wickets he took at this ground last time he played here.

The Aussies will look to skipper Steve Smith for the runs, as he seems to be the most assured player of spin in the team, going so far as to don the Baggy Green while batting. 

Last Five Head-To-Head Results

2016 First Test: Sri Lanka won by 106 runs in Pallekele
2013 Third Test: Australia won by five wickets in Sydney
2012/13 Second Test: Australia won by an innings and 201 runs in Melbourne
2012/13 First Test: Australia won by 137 runs in Hobart
2011 Third Test: Match Drawn in Colombo


Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Nuwan Pradeep (?), Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal

Australia (confirmed): David Warner, Joe Burns, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood


Dates: 4-8 August

Morning session: 10:00-12:00 (04:30-06:30 GMT)
Afternoon session: 12:40-14:40
Evening session: 15:00-17:00

On-field umpires: Chris Gaffaney, Richard Kettleborough
Third umpire: S Ravi
Match referee: Chris Broad