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Sri Lanka vs. West Indies- Third Test Preview and Predictions

Both teams have everything to play for heading into the series decider this morning.

What was initially being hailed as a series mismatch, has swiftly turned into a well-contested tussle, marred by bad weather

Things are a little more unpredictable heading into this clash with today’s venue, the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, hosting its first ever international test match. Although the ground has hosted a number of domestic games prior to today, with many feeling that it favours the batsmen.

Sri Lanka will find themselves favourites here today, with the Asian giants’ world class batting line up facing increasing pressure from the public, as well as selectors, to perform.

However, the hosts did shine in the last test, before the heavens opened and ensured that the second Test petered out to a draw.

The hosts will feel that anything less than a win here today will simply not do.

With that said, a draw is being tipped by the bookmakers as the likely result, with the West Indies a long 12/1 as victors.

On the West Indies’ batting front a lot is being expected of the ‘usual suspects’. No surprises that Chris Gayle’s astonishing 333 in the series opener has him leading the batting tips, with the ever reliable Shivnarine Chanderpaul at equal odds to prosper.

For Sri Lanka, in- form and current number one ranked batsman in the world, Kumar Sangakkara is favoured to lead the batting, with Mahela Jayawardene next up at 7/2.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Rangana Herath / Suraj Randiv, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Suranga Lakmal

West Indies (possible): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Adrian Barath, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Brendan Nash, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Shane Shillingford / Andre Russell, 11 Kemar Roach

One person that will be feeling the heat over the next five days is surprisingly the West Indies captain Darren Sammy. The newly promoted skipper scored just two runs in two innings in the last test, took only two wickets, and dropped a boatload catches. He needs to improve to maintain his selection- plain and simple

Things could turn interesting in the spinners department, as with Sangakkara expecting a pitch that will assist spin, Ajantha Mendis could be tossed the ball rather early here. Don’t be surprised to see him register another five-for.

The weather has robbed this series of the ‘classic’ status it might once have claimed, however with Sri Lanka defending a record of not having lost at home since 2006; expect them to be heading out confident and with a point to prove here today.

Interesting fact: Sri Lanka have never hosted a three-Test series that have all ended in draws.

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