West Indies vs. Sri Lanka - First Test
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West Indies will face Sri Lanka in the First Test of their two Test series at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. The match is scheduled to start on Sunday March 21st, 2021 at 10am EST.
After disappointing T20 and ODI Series, losing both, Sri Lanka will look to salvage their tour with a Test Series win here in the West Indies. They are the higher rated side in this format, but will certainly be low in confidence after comprehensive series defeats in the other formats. The teams are quite evenly balanced here, both with a solid mix of youth and experience. Who will come out on top and claim an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-test series?
Sri Lanka would usually be the favorites here in this format, as they are ranked one place ahead of the West Indies at #7. However, they lost the T20 Series 2-1 and the ODI Series 3-0, and are surely low on confidence. Despite the losses, they performed admirably, especially with the ball. Led by Dimuth Karunaratne, they have selected a very talented squad, and will confident in salvaging their Tour. They will be leaning heavily on bowlers Wanindu Hasaranga and Dinesh Chandimal to spearhead their efforts. While the bowling attack performed quite well in the shorter formats they really will need their batsmen to step up if they are to have a chance here.
West Indies are currently ranked #8 in the Test World Rankings, and like their opponents have selected a very strong side. While they have performed very well throughout this series, it will be interesting to see how the squad responds to new captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who replaces Jason Holder. He has led the team before with some success, and all reports are that team spirits are high. They have a wealth of talent in their squad, and Brathwaite, Darren Bravo and Kyle Mayers will be tasked with the heavy lifting on the batting side. They have selected very experienced bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach to lead the attack, and really are a very balanced side. Team confidence will be sky high after the ODI and T20 series wins, and they will be expecting another strong performance here at home.
While I expect this series to be a lot closer than the other formats, West Indies should still have enough firepower to win here. Sri Lanka has declined over the past few years, and after comprehensive series defeats will have very low morale. The West Indies are a very attacking side, and no doubt will be going for the win from the very first ball. It won't be a pushover, but West Indies will win this test and very likely the series.