Rory Burns, Akila Dananjaya and other players to watch out for in Galle Test

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Rory Burns is set for his England debut.

Sri Lanka and England prepare to lock horns in what promises to be an enticing Test battle with the series opener at Galle which gets underway on Tuesday.

All eyes will be on the weather for the five days with the forecast for the opening Test not looking so good. The focus will also be on Rangana Herath with the Sri Lanka veteran spinner set to big goodbye to international cricket after the Test.

The inclement weather notwithstanding, we take a look at three players each from both sides to watch out for in Galle.

SRI LANKA

ANGELO MATHEWS

With all the hoopla surrounding Herath’s farewell Test for Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews’ return to the Sri Lanka squad has gone somewhat unnoticed.

The experienced head was recently axed from Sri Lanka’s limited-overs outfits after the team’s poor showing in the Asia Cup with coach Chandika Hathurusingha publicly questioning his fitness while bringing up his infamous record of being involved in run-outs.

Now, Mathews is looking much leaner than before after spending plenty of time in the gym. The veteran will be itching to shut up his detractors and Galle will be the perfect place to start that quest.

Mathews (r) is looking fitter and hungrier.

Mathews (r) is looking fitter and hungrier.

KAUSHAL SILVA

The Galle Test should mark the return of Kaushal Silva after more than a year out from the team. The opening batsman’s last Test appearance for the islanders came in October last year against Pakistan.

A veteran of 37 Tests, the right-hander brings plenty of experience with him and is not a bad opener either as shown by his three tons and twelve half-centuries in the format.

Silva warmed up for the series with a well-made 62 against England in the warm-up game and is looking in fine knick.

Silva went well in the warm-up game against England.

Silva went well in the warm-up game against England.

AKILA DANANJAYA

While Akila Dananjaya’s stock continues to rise in limited-overs cricket, the mystery spinner is still an unheralded name in the Test arena.

Since making his Test debut against Bangladesh at the start of the year, the 25-year-old has already claimed 17 wickets in four matches at an average of just over 16.

The spinner kept getting better and better as the ODI series against England progressed and he will now be hoping to bring that form in red-ball cricket.

Dananjay (r) could prove to be a handful for England.

Dananjay (r) could prove to be a handful for England.

ENGLAND

RORY BURNS

Life after Alastair Cook begins now for England and as such, the spotlight is firmly set on their openers. Rory Burns will make his Test debut on Tuesday and should open the innings alongside Keaton Jennings.

The Surrey skipper led by example as his side lifted the County Championship for the first time in 16 years. The 28-year-old has been churning out runs at the domestic level for some time now with each of his past five seasons in county cricket yielding more than 1,000 runs.

He will be desperate to make that opening spot his own.

Burns will want to make the opening spot his own.

Burns will want to make the opening spot his own.

BEN FOAKES

Another Englishman who could make his debut on Tuesday will be wicketkeeper Ben Foakes. With first-choice wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow ruled out of the opening Test, Foakes and Jos Buttler will be in contention to take the gloves.

While Buttler has kept wickets in the past for England, Foakes will present a safer set of hands behind the stumps.

The 25-year-old is no mug with the bat either with eight first-class county tons to his name. The Essex man will want to put in a good show before Bairstow’s inevitable return.

A chance for Foakes to make his mark.

A chance for Foakes to make his mark.

JACK LEACH

It has been a frustrating year to say the least for Jack Leach, who was finally handed his Test debut against New Zealand in March. Having made his return to competitive cricket after correcting his faulty action, Leach was set for a big summer with England before he broke his thumb ahead of the start of the home season.

Having watched his Somerset team-mate Dom Bess then play instead while he watched from the sidelines would have frustrated the 27-year-old spinner. Now, he has the chance to put those frustrations to bed in a full series.

A second Test for England beckons for Leach.

A second Test for England beckons for Leach.

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