Sri Lanka play Pakistan in the first Test match on Saturday, July 16 at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle from 10:00 AM IST (Indian Standard Time).
The hosts, Sri Lanka, come into this series on the back of a morale-boosting win against Australia at this venue a few days back. Dinesh Chandimal score a double-century and Prabath Jayasuriya took 12 wickets on his Test match debut as the hosts beat the Aussies by an innings and 39 runs.
Dhananjaya de Silva is expected to return to the lineup for Sri Lanka in this series opener.
The Pakistan cricket team travel to Sri Lanka for a Test series for the first time since 2015. The visitors won the series by a 2-1 margin on that tour, including the match at this venue.
Pakistan drew the series in West Indies and won a series in Bangladesh before this match in the island nation. Babar Azam has scored 682 runs and Shaheen Shah Afridi has picked 37 wickets in the current World Test Championship cycle for the visitors.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test odds
Bet365 odds: Sri Lanka: 2.90, Draw: 3.80, Pakistan: 2.15
10CRIC odds: Sri Lanka: 2.91, Draw: 3.94, Pakistan: 2.04
Betway odds: Sri Lanka: 2.87, Draw: 4.00, Pakistan: 2.05
Betwinner odds: Sri Lanka: 2.94, Draw: 3.84, Pakistan: 2.18
1xBet odds: Sri Lanka: 2.94, Draw: 3.84, Pakistan: 2.18
Note: Odds are subject to change. Please visit betting sites to check and confirm the latest odds.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan head-to-head in Tests
Pakistan have been the better team in this head-to-head, winning 20 out of 55 matches against Sri Lanka in this format. The Sri Lankan cricket team has won 16 and the remaining 19 matches have ended drawn.
Pakistan won the 2019/20 Test series 1-0 in Pakistan while the Sri Lankans won the series 2-0 in the UAE in 2017/18.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test probable playing XI
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Ramesh Mendis, Prabath Jayasuriya, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha.
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper), Naseem Shah, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test top picks
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal is the top pick for this match. The 32-year-old scored 206 runs off 326 balls in his last innings in this format at Galle. He has scored 653 runs against Pakistan in Tests including one century and five half-centuries. The right-handed batter averages 43.91 in 51 innings with the bat in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan: Yasir Shah is the one to watch out for from the visitors. The leg-spinner has taken 24 wickets in three Tests in the island nation with nine of them coming in 2015 at this venue. Overall, he has picked up 235 wickets in 46 matches in this format. The 36-year-old has also scored 99 runs against the Sri Lankans in six Tests.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test prediction
Sri Lanka beat Australia in a recent match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium and have a strong overall record at home. The hosts will challenge the Pakistan cricket team in this match.
Pakistan have a good head-to-head record against Sri Lanka in this format but their recent form in this format has been underwhelming. However, considering their team dynamics, the visitors are expected to be the better side at this spin-friendly venue.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st Test playing conditions and weather report
Maximum Temperature: 29°C
Wind: 7 km/h