West Indies v Sri Lanka 2nd Test Tips: Roach ready to roar



West Indies v Sri Lanka
Monday 29 March 14:00
TV: live on BT Sport

Bonner boost

West Indies held on impressively for a draw in game one after losing their way. After the first-innings they had looked set for a 1-0 lead but faced a remarkable Sri Lanka comeback.

The hosts lead by 102 runs after dismissing Sri Lanka for 169 and then displaying batting depth. John Campbell, Kyle Mayers, Josh De Silva and Rahkeem Cornwall, who top scored at No 8, all showed nuggety qualities.

It all went wrong in the third, though, as they conceded a massive 475. Shannon Gabriel, wicketless in both innings could come under pressure from Jomel Warrican considering Cornwall was able to extract batsmen.

A target of 375 was never on but Nkrumah Bonner, who made his maiden Test ton, and Mayers showed that the future is bright for West Indies batting.

Possible XI Brathwaite, Campbell, Bonner, Mayers, Blackwood, De Silva, Holder, Cornwall, Joseph, Roach, Warrican

Sri Lanka fight

As much as the Windies deserve credit for knuckling down, how about a hand for the tourists. Beaten by England at home with collapses a regular feature, and then suffering defeats in the white-ball series on this tour, one could have forgiven them for folding after being dismissed cheaply on day one.

Not a bit of it. They roared back. Crucially, five batters found form to give them belief that they can do it on unfamiliar surfaces. The standout innings was from 22-year-old Pathum Nissanka who, on debut, compiled a superb 103. Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva and Oshada Fernando also notched key runs.

The bowling is not particularly potent, though. On a wearing surface Sri Lanka would have been disappointed to only take four wickets in the fourth. Suranga Lakmal claimed five wickets in the first dig and it’s a fillip to see him producing highly-skilled spells.

Possible XI Karunaratne, Thirimanne, O Fernando, D Chandimal, Dhananjaya, Nissanka, Dickwella, Lakmal, Chameera, Embuldeniya, Vishwa

Pitch report

That was the fourth draw in nine Tests at North Sound. It’s a small study sample but it’s a venue that bucks the trend of results in the five-day format.

The surface did play as expected, though. We advised going low on Sri Lanka’s runs because, first up, we expected the pace to be too hot to handle. A similar wager may be ruled out now, though, because of the application showed in the third.

A better ploy might be to wait for Sri Lanka looking solid for the first three or four wickets, and then lay their innings runs from 120 or more on the total. Their ability to collapse is unrivalled and they went from 160 for five to 169 all out.

Trading chance

This is a competitive heat. West Indies are 1.804/5, Sri Lanka 3.45 and the draw 5.805/1. We see value in the latter.

Recency bias can be our enemy in betting. But it can also be our friend if we recognise that others could put too much store in what happened in game one.

Any sort of partnership in the first-innings in this match is likely to see points lopped off the stalemate. For the simple reason that punters think it is a road and we are going to see a repeat of a pretty lifeless pitch on day five.

So we should be in the market for a back-to-lay of the draw from 5.805/1 to close to even money. No rain is forecast for the match.

Tops value

Sportsbook’s 3/1 joint-jolly Kemar Roach has a 33% win rate for top West Indies bowler in the first-innings but he was pipped by five-wicket fellow fav Jason Holder in game one who wins at a rate of just shy of 7/2. Roach, then, is clearly standout value. For runs, we’re getting just shy of two whole points on Jermaine Blackwood with win rate versus odds of 6/1.

Dinesh Chandimal is worth following at 9/2 for top Sri Lanka bat. He wins at a shade under 30% of the time. There’s a small edge on Nirosh Dickwella at 7/1 but we have to side with the player who has the biggest advantage on numbers.