Sri Lanka vs New Zealand 2nd Test: Shades of 2012 for Black Caps in must-win situation at P Sara Oval
Kane Williamson must find a way for New Zealand to beat Sri Lanka. © AFP

New Zealand arrived in Colombo confident of beating hosts Sri Lanka 2-0 to topple India from the top of the ICC Test rankings, and determined to begin their run at the new ICC World Test Championship on a dominant note.

They went to Galle and battled, but ended up losing the first Test. The day five track in Galle did not turn as sharply as Kane Williamson expected it to, and New Zealand struggled to take wickets as Dimuth Karunaratne scored a superb century to maintain his unbeaten streak as Test captain. Under Karunaratne, Sri Lanka won both Test matches in South Africa earlier this year.

The teams will now play the second and final Test at Colombo’s P Sara Oval from Thursday, with Williamson’s team needing a win to avert a series loss. Seven years ago, New Zealand were beaten by 10 wickets in Galle and arrived at the P Sara Oval in similar scenes and then clinched a famous win. Will history repeat itself?

(READ: Is the ICC World Test Championship format flawed?)

Sri Lanka are top of the World Test Championship table having taken a full 60 points off New Zealand by virtue of a six-wicket win in Galle on Sunday. That saw them leapfrog Australia, who have 32 points, to No 1 in the WTC standings. New Zealand can gain 60 points from victory over Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval.

Though Williamson and Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya have been reported for suspect bowling actions, they will be allowed to bowl in the second Test.

Match details

What: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, 2nd Test

Where: P Sara Oval, Colombo

When: Thursday, August 22

Time: 09:30am IST

Weather: Scattered rainfall is predicted for all five days of the Test.

Team news

Sri Lanka

The last time Dananjaya was reported after a Test match, Sri Lanka played him in the next match. However, Dananjaya now risks suspension after being reported for a suspect action again. If this happens, Sri Lanka will lose their frontline spinner ahead of a run of six Test matches all in Asia.

Lakshan Sandakan could replace Dananjaya in Sri Lanka’s XI.

akila dananjaya reported for suspect bowling action
Akila Dananjaya starred in Galle but may not play in Colombo. © AFP

The only other possible change is Dinesh Chandimal returning in place of Kusal Perera, who made 1 and 23 in Galle.

Sri Lanka likely 11: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Kusal Perera/Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8 Suranga Lakmal, 9 Lasith Embuldeniya, 10 Lahiru Kumara, 11 Lakshan Sandakan

New Zealand

The tourists are determined to show more fight in the second Test, and this could mean changes to their personnel.

The Black Caps played three spinners in Galle, of which Mitchell Santner was distinctly the weak link with 24 wicketles overs. His place could go to the legspinner Todd Astle.

Todd Astle
The legspinner Todd Astle has played four Tests so far. © AFP

New Zealand likely 11: 1 Jeet Raval, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Todd Astle, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Will Somerville, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Ajaz Patel

Pitch and conditions

The surface at the P Sara Oval is traditionally one that offers turn in the last two days, but with the amount of rain forecast it may not be the case.


No New Zealand cricket team has ever lost a Test at the P Sara Oval. In 2003, Stephen Fleming scored a career-best 274 not out in a draw and in 2014, under Ross Taylor, New Zealand won by 167 runs.

Trent Boult needs one wicket to get to 250 in Tests. Tim Southee needs five.

Southee also needs three wickets to get to 50 against Sri Lanka in Tests.

Williamson is 27 runs shy of getting to 1000 against Sri Lanka in Tests. Only Fleming has more against them.

Niroshan Dickwella needs one dismissal to reach 100 in Test cricket.

Sri Lanka have won nine of 20 Tests at the P Sara Oval, while losing seven and drawing four.


“It was obviously disappointing to start the Test Championship like that and obviously the series but [Colombo] is a ground that we’ve had some success on in the past and hopefully we can replicate some of that.” – Ross Taylor