West Indies v Sri Lanka Second Test Betting: Windies are looking strong

Kraigg Brathwaite
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Ed Hawkins previews the second clash from Gros Islet, which starts on Thursday, and is hoping the hosts can continue their good form...

"Cameos from Roach, Bishoo and Jason Holder knocked the stuffing out the tourists because they thought they were in control at 147 for five."

West Indies v Sri Lanka
Thursday, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Windies showed power

There's two ways you can look at West Indies' crushing win in the first Test at Port-of-Spain. Either the hosts' bowling was extraordinary on a pretty benign pitch. Or Sri Lanka were hopeless.

In the first-innings it was the former. Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Miguel Cummins bowled with pace and control to raze the Sri Lankan batting. It was almost a bit like the good old days.

And in being bowled out for 185 there was little disgrace. After all, this Sri Lankan outfit have limited experience of such bowling or conditions.

In the second dig, though, they should have shown more gumption when it was turning. That is a game they do know. Roston Chase and Dev Bishoo ran through them with seven wickets between them.

Earlier the excellent Shane Dowrich had made an un beaten 125 in the first innings as the Windies lower-order dug in under pressure. Cameos from Roach, Bishoo and Jason Holder knocked the stuffing out the tourists because they thought they were in control at 147 for five.

Wicket-taking a problem for visitors

Sri Lanka had warmed up well with a convincing victory over a West Indies Presidents XI, which why it was such a surprise to see them struggle so. Maybe they will improve for the run.

If we look at their batting, for example, they really should have done better. Dinesh Chandimal, the skipper, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva and Kusal Mendis all have more than solid record at this level over the last three years. Niroshan Dickwella is not too shabby, either.

It is with the ball where they really struggle, Rangana Herath the wily old spinner aside. There are some truly big numbers when you look at the strike rates of their bowlers over the same study period. Suranga Lakmal takes a wicket every 76 balls, Dil Perera every 69 and Lahiru Gamage every 111.

It's a major issue in Tests where matches are, we believe, won by the side with the most potent and adaptable bowling unit.

Pitch could break up

There have only been five Tests played at the Darren Sammy International Stadium (has there ever been a more moderate player to have a stadium named after him?). Three of those have ended in stalemate. The first-innings scores in the five are as follows: 353-380-588-416-354. So pretty reliable for the batsmen, then. Well, first up at least. It tends to break up as happened in the last game two years ago when West Indies had no hope chasing 346 against India. They managed 108. Bowling styles shared the wickets.

Hosts should be shorter

Sri Lanka were initially rated as favourites for this one at around [2.4] - curious given the First Test - but they've drifted to a more realistic [2.74]. West Indies are [2.54] and the draw is [4.2].

A look at the scorecard for game one is all you need do if you want proof that the home team are the value. A bit more? Remind yourself of those strike rates.

Still, we can't be hugely confident about the Windies. They have been a pretty unreliable bunch down the years and it would be folly not to reckon they would be vulnerable if they had to bat last. Indeed, there is a suspicion that these two are even-steven and it's the toss which decides the winner. We'll back the hosts at [2.1] or better if they bat first.

West Indies have an extraordinarily bad record against fellow Big Eight teams. They have won back-to-back matches only twice in 18 years.

Brathwaite Mr Reliable

Kraigg Brathwaite managed scores of only three and 16 in the first match. We expect better of him this time around. He averages a shade under 40 in the last three years and only Chase comes close to him for consistency at run-getting. Brathwaite top scored last time out at Gros Islet with 64.

Chandimal all the rage

If looking for a top-bat bet on Sri Lanka Chandimal is hardly a risk at probable Sportsbook prices of around 100/30. Chandimal averages 43 over the last three years and he notched in game one. Kusal Mendis is next best with a rate of 37.8 and he has the ability to bust the magical 40 mark soon.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2018: +14.75
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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