My XI for the ONLY match against Zimbabwe-
1. Upul Tharanga (Batsman)
2. Danushka Gunathilaka(All-Rounder)(Right-arm Off Spin)
3. Kusal Mendis(Batsman)
4. Dinesh Chandimal(Batsman)(Captain)
5. Angelo Mathews (Batsman)
6. Asela Gunarathne(All-Rounder)(Right-arm Off Spin)
7. Niroshan Dickwella(Batsman)(W)
8. Lahiru Kumara(Right-arm fast)
9. Rangana Herath(Slow left-arm orthodox)
10. Suranga Lakmal (Right-arm fast-medium)
11. Vishwa Fernando (Left-Arm Fast-Medium)
Pitch and conditions
There was a light cover of grass on the pitch on the eve of the match, which suggests there will be assistance for the seamers early on. However, rare is the Khettarama surface that doesn't become spin-friendly eventually. There have been periodic showers in Colombo over the past week, and more of the same is expected during the Test.
The largest cricketing venue in Sri Lanka first hosted a Test match in 1992 against Australia and being the venue where Sri Lanka posted their highest Test total of 952 against India back in 1997, is known as a batting friendly wicket. Relatively less used for the longest format, the RPS last hosted a Test against Bangladesh in 2013; the match yielded over a 1,000 runs with Sri Lanka ending as winners by 7 wickets.
"As a player and a captain I will sacrifice my time and my effort to make sure Sri Lanka reclaims a good place in world cricket. I need a little time for that. I am hopeful that with the players that I have, I can take Sri Lankan cricket to where it used to be." New captain Dinesh Chandimal is hoping to change his team's present trajectory
"My final goal is to take the team to No. 1 in the world," Chandimal said ahead of his first Test as captain. "But we can't do that in one day or one year. We have to work hard with our cricket to get there. We have young players, and we have to give them experience along the way. We have to take it step by step – go to No. 6 first, then No. 5 and so on. We have a long way to go."
"We know he is a quality bowler, he is someone that Sri Lanka really rely on to pick up wickets," Cremer said of Herath. "We've just spoken about how he tries to get people out – both left-handers and right-handers. Guys have all come up with their own individual plans on how to play him. We definitely know he is a threat and he will be someone we need to keep out if we are to do well in the Test."
In that context Chandimal said, “When you look at the pitch, I think we will have to play seven batsmen and four bowlers. We also looked at the previous Tests here. I’m not sure if we’ll play two spinners and two quicks, or whether we’ll go with three quicks and one spinner. That’s something for deciding tomorrow, after we get to the ground. But there is a big chance we’ll go with two spinners and two quicks.”
Expect the pitch to get slower and lower as the match goes on and the captain who wins the toss to have a bat 1st.