(Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal believes his team’s spin attack will give the hosts the edge over England in the first test at Galle starting on Tuesday.
Dilruwan Perera and Akila Dananjaya are likely to partner slow left-armer Rangana Herath, who will retire after the first test, and Chandimal said his team wanted to send the veteran into retirement with a win.
“When you look at the Galle pitch, it’s always turning and helpful to spinners,” Chandimal said on Monday. “When we play in Sri Lanka, it’s spinners who take charge. Then again, it’s all about weather and the condition of the pitch.”
The forecast in Galle does not look promising, with rain expected to put a dampener on proceedings and England captain Joe Root decided not to name his final team until the day of the match.
“We’ve just got to adapt very well, very quickly and read the situation,” Root said. “We’ve got a very balanced squad with plenty of different options... From that point of view I feel we’ll be well prepared for whatever surface is thrown at us.”
The visitors won the five-match one-day international series between the sides and the one-off Twenty20 International in Colombo, leaving Sri Lanka with a point to prove in the three-match test series.
Herath’s impending retirement has dominated the build-up to the match and the 40-year-old is set to bow out as the most successful left-arm spinner in the sport’s history.
“We have a few things up our sleeve (for him),” Chandimal added. “We don’t want to reveal all because we want him to be surprised.
“The main thing is, if we can win this game and the series, that will be a really good farewell for him. That’s what the team is looking forward to.”
Pace bowler Lahiru Kumara has been dropped from the Sri Lanka squad for breaching the team’s code of conduct with Dushmantha Chameera called up to replace him.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond