England have replaced Stuart Broad with James Anderson as they aim to clinch a fourth successive series victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

A seven-wicket win in Galle gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the rearranged series, following on from an overseas triumph in South Africa a year ago, plus successes against West Indies and Pakistan on home soil.

Joe Root led from the front with a double-century last time out and, with the recalled Jonny Bairstow and debutant Dan Lawrence also contributing runs, the tourists have gone with the same batting line-up.

Anderson comes into the side as England make just the one change, with Broad given a rest, as Mark Wood retains his place and Olly Stone misses out along with Chris Woakes. 

As for Sri Lanka, they will once again be without Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne as he continues to recover from a fractured thumb.

Kusal Mendis has been dropped after a poor run of form with the bat – he has managed just 27 runs in his last six Test innings – while seam duo Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep, as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Minod Bhanuka, have been allowed to depart the bio-secure bubble.

The home side will be aiming to prevent their opponents from winning a fifth successive Test overseas, a feat England have not achieved since a run of seven in a row between 1911 and 1914.

Sri Lanka fought back well after being dismissed for only 135 in their first innings of the opening Test and captain Root knows England cannot expect to have things all their own way as they eye another triumph on tour.

He said: "They are a proud team and they have a great record at this ground. Not only that, they have some very talented players.

"We already saw that throughout the game with how it unfolded in the second innings. The way that they played with the bat in the second innings was very different to the first and showed that in those conditions, they are a very hard side to break down.

"We know that this isn't going to be an easy game for us."


LEACH IN SIGHT OF RECORD

Jack Leach was understandably a little rusty in the previous game, having only played in two first-class fixtures throughout 2020. However, the left-arm spinner improved as he clocked up the overs, claiming 5-122 in the second innings to leave England needing just 74 for victory.

His six in the match lifted his career Test tally in Sri Lanka to 24, just one behind Ashley Giles who sits top of the all-time list for England. Considering it is expected to be another spin-friendly surface in Galle, Leach will fancy his chances of taking top spot before the short tour concludes.

SRI LANKA AIM TO STOP THE ROT

Despite showing some defiance with both bat and ball in the opening Test, Sri Lanka have now lost three in a row. They have not suffered a longer losing run since a four-game span between December 2015 and May 2016.

Their first-innings total of 135 left them with too much ground to make up second time around, so the continued absence of opener Karunaratne is a blow.

KEY MATCH FACTS

- England will be looking to record a third successive Test series win against Sri Lanka for the first time.
- England have lost only one of their Tests since the start of 2020 (W7, D2) and are undefeated in their last six of that stretch (W4, D2) – the last time they went on a longer unbeaten run was a 13-Test span (W7, D6) from November 2012 to August 2013.
- Joe Root made 228 last time out, his maiden Test double-century in Asia. That innings included 74 runs from conventional sweep shots, almost twice the number of his previous high in a Test match (41 at Pallekele versus Sri Lanka in November 2018).
- Lahiru Thirimanne has scored 50 or more in two of his past three Test innings at Galle, after doing so only once in his previous 12 knocks at the venue.
- Jos Buttler held on to all five catching opportunities in the series opener; only once before in his Test career has he managed to claim more catches without dropping one (July 2014 v India – 6/6).

Dimuth Karunaratne believes Sri Lanka have a "clear advantage" over England in the two-match Test series due to the tourists' inexperience of playing in the conditions they will face.

Joe Root's side completed a whitewash in Sri Lanka the last time they met in the longest format in November 2018.

England start the series in the Galle bio-secure bubble on Thursday with the aim of securing a third consecutive Test series triumph over Sri Lanka for the first time.

They will have a very different side to the one selected at the same venue just over two years ago, with Rory Burns, Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Keaton Jennings not featuring.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes is expected to be overlooked despite being named man of the series in that 3-0 success in Sri Lanka, while batsman Dan Lawrence is poised to make his debut.

Sri Lanka have won only one of their past seven Tests and were beaten 2-0 by South Africa recently, but captain Karunaratne believes they can respond against England.

"We have a clear advantage against this team, because they've got a few new players," the batsman said.

"From the last series they played against us, Stokes is not in their squad and Jennings is not in the team. And Stokes is the guy who balanced their team. The players in the current squad don't have much experience in these conditions."

Karunaratne, however, knows Sri Lanka - who are able to call upon Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Suranga Lakmal - will be in for a battle. 

 "That said, we shouldn't take it easy. They've prepared well, and I've seen how well they've prepared. They've also been playing cricket and they were the first ones to start playing Tests again after COVID hit.

"Their fitness levels are still up there. We only started again against South Africa, and because of the injury concerns, we've lost players."

Azhar Ali offered heartfelt thanks to Sri Lanka following the successful return of Test cricket to Pakistan.

The hosts completed a 263-run win in the second Test in Karachi on Monday, 16-year-old seamer Naseem Shah finishing with five wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 212.

However, while Pakistan could therefore celebrate a series victory, after a drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, the resumption of Test cricket in the country following a 10-year hiatus provided much greater satisfaction.

Prior to this two-match series, Tests had not been played in Pakistan since March 2009, when six policemen and two civilians were killed in an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

A decade on, Sri Lanka's return was the source of much pride and happiness, as Pakistan captain Azhar noted in his post-match comments.

"Special thanks to Sri Lanka from the bottom of our hearts," said Azhar. "They have given us immense happiness by playing in Pakistan. It was an emotional moment returning home to play."

Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne hailed the security staff who have looked after his side during their tour.

"The security was really good," he said in a news conference. "We knew we were secure and we feel safe here.

"I just want to thank all of the security guards who gave us security, the Pakistan Cricket Board and all of the fans of Pakistan. They were really good.

"For me, I can say for now it's really safe here. All of the other countries, all the nations who play cricket, they can come and play cricket here. It's safe to play in Pakistan."

Teenager Naseem Shah struck twice as Pakistan fought back well on a bad-light curtailed first day of Test cricket on home soil for a decade after Sri Lanka made a promising start in Rawalpindi.

Sri Lanka were 202-5 when stumps were drawn with 22.5 overs still due to be bowled, 16-year-old pace prodigy Shah taking 2-51.

The tourists lost their way after an opening stand of 96 between Dimuth Karunaratne (59) and Oshada Fernando (40) in the first match in the longest format to be played in Pakistan since a terror attack on their team bus in 2009.

Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 31 runs in the afternoon session, but Dhananjaya de Silva will start day two unbeaten on 38 with rain forecast over the next few days.

Pakistan have an injury concern over Shaheen Afridi after he was injured fielding as they attempt to make up for lost time in a long-awaited home Test series - and their former coach Mickey Arthur's first in charge of Sri Lanka.

Karunaratne's decision to bat first looked wise when he and Oshada set about laying solid foundations, although the captain had a big stroke of luck when debutant Usman Shinwari struck his off stump early on but the bails stayed on. 

Oshada took 20 balls to get off the mark, with Karunaratne playing more fluently in a wicketless opening session that yielded 89 runs, with 57 coming off the skipper's bat.

Pakistan were more disciplined after lunch and got their rewards, Afridi trapping Karunaratne lbw and Oshada edging Afridi to Haris Sohail at first slip. 

Kusal Mendis became paceman Shinwari's first Test victim and recalled former captain Dinesh Chandimal was cleaned up by a peach of a delivery from Mohammad Abbas for only two, with Pakistan on a roll.

Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya showed resistance with a fifth-wicket stand of 62 before the former nicked Shah to Asad Shafiq at second slip attempting an extravagant drive.

Dhananjaya played responsibility and put away loose deliveries with Afridi off the field after doing damage attempting to stop a boundary and Niroshan Dickwella was 11 not out when play was called off for the day.

Sri Lanka have named a full-strength squad for the first Tests to be played in Pakistan in a decade.

Ten high-profile players opted not to tour when Sri Lanka visited Pakistan for three one-day internationals and three T20s in September and October, with limited-overs captains Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga among those absent.

However, Karunaratne will skipper a strong group that also includes Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal for the two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

The only change to the Sri Lanka squad that faced New Zealand in August sees Kasun Rajitha replace Akila Dananjaya, who is serving a one-year ban for an illegal action.

Pakistan have not hosted a five-day game since several Sri Lanka players and members of their coaching staff were injured in an attack on their team bus in March 2009.

These two Tests were originally scheduled to be hosted at a neutral venue because of security concerns but will now take place in Pakistan following the success of the limited-overs games in the country.

The first Test begins on December 11 in Rawalpindi.

 

Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan.

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