Alastair Cook and co won 1st Test by an innings and 88 runs, and the 2nd Test by 9 wickets © Getty Images
Alastair Cook and co won 1st Test by an innings and 88 runs, and the 2nd Test by 9 wickets © Getty Images

England and Sri Lanka will clash in a dead-rubber third Test at Lord’s; with the hosts having already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The visitors were abysmal in the first Test, losing by an innings and 88 runs. While they did show some fight in the second Test, it was not enough for them save the match and the series. With the outcome of the series already decided, Sri Lanka will want to take some pride and confidence going into the ODIs. On the other hand, England have a very little to think about, considering all their weapons fired successfully in their two victorious games. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test match

England head into this game under no pressure, as their revenge for 2014 series loss to Sri Lanka was completed with a convincing win in the second Test, despite being made to fight. Most of the English players have stuck to their task, barring Nick Compton and Steven Finn, who have been struggling in their respective roles. The two have not been able to contribute in what has been a successful series for England. Yet, coach Trevor Bayliss has high hopes from them, with Compton set to get another chance.

Sri Lanka know they have nothing to play for but pride. Their performance in the first Test would have left them shocked. Despite the fact they are a team ‘in-progress’, the manner in which their batsmen performed was not something that they can take ahead. Even in the first innings of second Test, it felt like another innings defeat was around the corner.

But the senior players stood up and helped them avoid back-to-back innings defeat. They would have been buoyed by the display of skipper Angelo Mathews and wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal. Over that, opener Kaushal Silva and middle order batsman Milinda Siriwardana also showed some fight, which were a positive sign.

In terms of squad structure, England will go with the same 12-man squad which won at Chester-le-street, meaning one-of or both Compton and Finn will start, and uncapped Jake Ball again looming around for his place in the side. For Sri Lanka, Dasun Shanaka was dropped for the last match; despite scalping three wickets on his debut Test. His replacement Siriwardana was decent with both bat and ball, so expect him to keep his place. Also, Kusal Perera may also be given his chance, after having served six months of ban. It is expected that he will come in for Shaminda Eranga, who had a torrid last match, failing to scalp a wicket.

It will be a tough encounter for Sri Lanka, who are aiming to go into the ODIs on the back of a win. The Lord’s (home of cricket) has been a very successful ground for the hosts in the recent past, with them having won nine out of the last 15 matches at this venue. If England bat first on this track, expect another one-sided match in favor of the hosts. But Sri Lanka will not be any pushovers, considering the fight they showed in the second innings of the second Test. Yet, consider England to be the hands down favorites to complete a whitewash.

Squads:

England: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, James Vince

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Chaminda Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Kusal Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dasun Shanaka, Kaushal Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne

Time: 15:30 IST

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)