GALLE, Sri Lanka, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Left arm spinner Sulieman Benn is expected to return to the West Indies lineup and form a dual spin attack with offspinner Shane Shillingford when the second test against Sri Lanka begins in Colombo on Tuesday.
Benn missed the drawn first test in Galle because he was serving a ban for bringing the game into disrepute during the visitors’ last series against South Africa, while Shillingford is under a cloud after his action was reported to the International Cricket Council following the match.
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson, however, stood by his two controversial bowlers and indicated the twin spin approach could provide the future direction for the side.
“The inclusion of Shillingford and Benn is a sign of changing times in West Indies cricket,” said Gibson. “Most people in the world expect Caribbean cricket to have four fast bowlers because that’s what our success as a nation was built on.
“The reality though is now in the Caribbean and around the world the wickets are a lot different to the way they used to be.
“We have the option now of playing two spinners whereas in the past you may never see two spinners playing in the same match for West Indies.”
West Indies dominated the first test with Chris Gayle scoring a career best 333 in their 580 for nine declared. Shillingford then took four wickets to help bowl the hosts out for 378.
He picked up one more wicket in the second innings as Sri Lanka battled out a draw on the rain-hit final day and Gibson felt they could only build on that performance.
“The Sri Lanka tour is the beginning of a stabilisation process in West Indies cricket after almost 15 years of decline,” said Gibson.
“I think it will take at least five years to get back to where we want to be but at the same time you have to start from somewhere.
“This is the start of a stabilisation process. You’ve got to stabilise before you move forward.”
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said he felt his batsmen would be better placed in Colombo having had their first look at Shillingford.
“He’s got a lot of variation and bounce but I thought our guys played him for the first time pretty well,” Sangakkara said.
“As we go along I think we’ll probably look at him a bit more and see how better we can adjust our game plan to him.”
The hosts have made two changes to their squad recalling seamer Nuwan Kulasekara, who is expected to share the new ball with either Dilhara Fernando or uncapped Suranga Lakmal.
Uncapped fast bowler Shaminda Eranga has also been included in their 16-man squad. Dammika Prasad and Thilan Thushara were both dropped.
The match will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium, a 2011 World Cup venue, although renovations are still incomplete.
Sri Lanka (from): Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Tharanga Paranavitana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Thilina Kandamby, Kaushal Silva.
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (captain), Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Darren Bravo, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford, Sulieman Benn, Andre Russell, Devon Smith, Nelon Pascal, Devon Thomas.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com