Trinidad: The Windies and Sri Lanka square off in a three-Test series starting Wednesday, with the first Test in Port of Spain. Both teams will meet in the longest format of the game after a gap of more than two years, having last faced off during Windies' tour of Sri Lanka in October 2015.
Sri Lanka have never won a Test Series in the West Indies and this provides a golden chance for them to re-write the record books. They hold the advantage on form, having won two of the last five Tests and drawing three.
This will be the first Test of the year for the Windies, who will be led by Jason Holder. They last played a five-day match against New Zealand in December 2017. While they could not win a Test on that tour to New Zealand, their performances in England earlier that year, which included a five-wicket win in Headingley while chasing 322, courtesy an unbeaten 118 by Shai Hope, were noteworthy.
The batting responsibilities will rest on Kraigg Brathwaite's shoulders, who will be assisted by Hope, Roston Chase, the recalled Devon Smith and Kieran Powell. Shanon Gabriel is expected to lead the bowling attack, to be helped by the experienced Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
Sri Lanka, who won 1-0 in the two-Test series against Bangladesh in February, had some injury concerns with their first-choice squad. But they have three batsmen who have enjoyed good recent form: Roshen Silva, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva, who joined the squad late after the untimely death of his father.
All three scored centuries the first Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka, in a match where Sri Lanka scored 713 runs in their first innings. Experienced hands of captain Dinesh Chandimal, who warmed up with a century against West Indies President's XI in a practice game, and Angelo Mathews will provide the visitors the right blend of youth and seasoned professionals.
Suranga Lakmal leads the bowling attack with assistance from fellow fast bowlers Lahiru Gamage and Lahiru Kumara as well as spinner Akila Dananjaya. The experienced Rangana Herath, as always, will be a threat.
They also have wicket-keeper batsmen in Kusal Perera, who scored a half-century in both innings in the practice match, and Niroshan Dickwella, both of whom double up as hard-hitting batsmen capable of batting anywhere in the order.
While this Test, to be played at the Queen's Park Oval, and the next one in Gros Islet will be played during the day, the final Test in Bridgetown, Barbados will be a day-night affair.
Windies: Jason Holder (c), Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase,
Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jamar Hamilton, Shimron
Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Mahela Udawatte, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith
Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella,
Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru
Gamage, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando.