Neither the West Indies nor Sri Lanka can qualify for the World Test Championship, with India and New Zealand in the league stage’s top two, and so it was perhaps fitting the attritional first Test between the sides finished as a draw.
Both faltered at the crease – Sri Lanka were 92-5 at one stage in their first innings while the Windies scored too slowly – and neither took initiative to win the contest.
And it could be a similar story in the second and final Test match between the sides, with the moving Dukes ball coupled with the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium pitch once again expected to play into the hands of the bowlers.
Conditions to Again Favour the Bowlers
Suranga Lakmal enjoyed a five-wicket haul in his first innings with the ball but it is ultimately the West Indies bowlers who can capitalise in these conditions. Had it not been for a surprise century from Nkrumah Bonner, paceman Kemar Roach could have been named player of the match.
Roach was consistent with figures of 3-47 and 3-74 in the home side’s two bowling innings and has been a solid performer in previous games at this venue.
Roach Can Trouble Sri Lankan Top Order
Prior to the clash with Sri Lanka, Roach had taken eight, five, five and seven wickets in his four previous Test matches at North Sound in Antigua.
The most recent of those assignments saw him tear through India’s middle order in August 2019 and, against a much weaker batting contingent in the form of Sri Lanka, he should be fancied to be his side’s top first innings bowler at
Anticipate Further Kiwi Dominance
The Black Caps breezed to a 3-0 whitewash of Bangladesh in the recent One-Day International series between the sides and the narrative was much the same in the first of the three T20Is to be played in New Zealand.
The hosts won by 66 runs at Seddon Park and their top-order batsmen should once again be expected to excel when the sides travel to Napier.
Guptill Looks the Pick of the Home Batsmen
New Zealand should also justify a price of
20/41 to have the highest opening partnership in this contest with Devon Conway (92 not out), Will Young (53) and Martin Guptill (35) all showing why they should be in this year’s World Cup squad in the first match.
As for Bangladesh, they faltered in the absences of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan, falling to 59-6 at one stage in the opening T20I.
A solid bet in this one could be to back Guptill to top score for New Zealand at
5/2 with the opener firing 97, 43, seven, 71 and 35 in his previous five T20I innings.
*All odds correct at time of writing.