angelo mathews
Angelo Mathews captaincy has come under criticism from various quartersGetty

Sri Lanka host Australia in the first Test match at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on 26 July (Tuesday). This is the first Test of a three-match series.

Where to watch live

Match starts at 5.30am BST. Live TV coverage is available on British Eurosport 2.

Overview

Sri Lanka's Test summer did not go off well with the Islanders getting thrashed in their tour of England earlier this year, suffering a humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the Three Lions. The Lankan outfit now find themselves in familiar climate and surroundings when they welcome Australia for a three-Test, five-One Day International (ODI) and two-T20 International series.

Coming into the first Test, Sri Lanka have problems of their own mostly in relation to bowling; pace bowlers Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera and spinner Jeffrey Vandersay are out due to injury while Shaminda Eranga has been suspended for an illegal action.

Their absence will put enormous strain on veteran spinner Rangana Herath who did not have the best of times in England. With 304 wickets from 70 Tests, Herath is their main weapon and if Sri Lanka are to give some sort of contest to the Australians, he will need to be in top form.

Their batting is dependent on skipper Angelo Mathews and keeper Dinesh Chandimal who will need to fire every time they are at the crease. Kusal Mendis who impressed in England will be expected to continue his development against an attack that is one of the more balanced ones in world cricket.

David Warner
David Warner is a key player for Australia in all forms of the gameGetty

Visitors Australia come into this clash after a period of rest, having last played in February when they toured New Zealand for a two-match Test series. The Australians have happy memories of playing in Sri Lanka, a place where they have been very successful. In fact, over 13 Test matches spread out over five tours, Australia have won six compared to just one for the hosts.

In David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Mitchell Starc and skipper Steve Smith, Australia have the personnel to continue their golden run of form in the Island nation. However, it will be interesting to see how their batsmen counter spin, considering the tracks will offer turn and bounce.

With not a lot of people expecting hosts Sri Lanka to offer competition, Australia come into not only this clash but the series as the definite favourites to emerge winners.

Prediction

Australia to win

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Sri Lanka to win: 8
  • Draw: 6/5
  • Australia to win: 10/11

Team News

Sri Lanka

Squad: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Asitha Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Roshen Silva, Kaushal Silva.

Australia

Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazelwood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Steve O'Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges.