Sri Lanka chose to bat in the series opener in Galle for the two-Test series. With the Galle surface usually taking progressively more turn as the game wears on, Pakistan will have to steel themselves to bat last on a deteriorating surface.
“We know how it’s going to be later – it’s going to be turning – so we want to get the best out of the batting conditions,” was Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne’s reasoning on his decision.
In terms of team news, there are no surprises for the hosts. They go in with two seamers in Kasun Rajitha and Vishwa Fernando, while Prabath Jayasuriya and Ramesh Mendis will be the primary spin-bowling options.
As for the pitch, while there will be the expected turn on the fourth and fifth days, it should be good for batting on the first and second days. There is, however, expected to be something in it for the seamers on a windy first morning.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Nishan Madushka, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Prabath Jayasuriya, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Vishwa Fernando
Pakistan: 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Shan Masood, 4 Babar Azam (capt), 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Saud Shakeel, 7 Agha Salman, 8 Nauman Ali, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Abrar Ahmed, 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi