Rain could spoil Galle Test


Groundsmen cover the pitch and the outfield with plastic sheets as rains interrupt a practice session at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on August 13, 2019, ahead fo the first Test match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

Rex Clementine in Galle

Torrential rain forced teams to cancel their training sessions here at the Galle International Stadium yesterday and the opening Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand could be severely affected by inclement weather. Players were forced to stay indoors yesterday and today being Poya Day, there’s serious doubt whether any action is possible.

"In the ten or 12 days we’ve been here, about eight of them have been rained out. It’s just one of those things that you try and prepare mentally as best as you can. We look forward to starting the Test tomorrow. All the guys are really excited to get the Test Championship under way," Kane Williamson, New Zealand captain told journalists.

The Kiwis are ranked number two in the world and they can move up to the top rank in Tests ahead of India if they win the series 2-0. Such good positioning is important than ever before with the World Test Championship on.

The authorities have been trying to get the World Test Championship underway since 2013, but after two failed attempts, the event finally got underway in August where the top nine ranked teams will play a league competition before the top two teams complete in the finals at Lord’s in 2021.

"It’s a welcome addition to the Test format, bringing that context into every Test match that you play. Every time you play any team it’s very, very competitive, but now there’s that added carrot where in two years’ time everyone is vying for an opportunity play in a Test Championship final, which will be a really exciting thing to be a part of," Williamson went onto say.

New Zealand cricket team captain Kane Williamson (R) and his Sri Lankan counterpart Dimuth Karunaratne smile during a joint press conference at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on August 13, 2019, ahead of their first Test match. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

One format where Sri Lanka have not done badly in the last two years is Test cricket although they are still recovering from the hurt of losing to England at home last year 3-0. The team under Dimuth Karunaratne bounced back in South Africa winning the series 2-0. Sri Lanka have not lost a home series to New Zealand since the first meeting between the sides in 1984.

"What I have done is to give freedom to all players and they have gone onto express themselves with their performances. Another area that we did quite well is to adapt quickly. When we lost the Test series to England, we tried to be too aggressive perhaps. Since then, we have read situations better and adapted well," said Karunaratne.

Ranked sixth in Tests, Sri Lanka could move up to number five provided they win the series 2-0 and Australia lose the Ashes?

New Zealand (From)

Kane Williamson (Captain), Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, William Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Trent Boult,  Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel and Neil  Wagner.

Sri Lanka (From)

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando.

Umpire: Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth (England)

Third Umpire: Bruce Oxenford (Australia)

Match Referee:  Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)

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