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Dickwella: With Stokes and Archer absent, Sri Lanka can beat England

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ri Lanka wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella believes his team can avenge England’s 2018 sweep when the two-Test series begins on Thursday, because the tourists are missing big name players like Ben Stokes.

England were able to train today in Galle after some rain, with Chris Woakes taking a full part for the first time after a week’s self-isolation, though Moeen Ali remains in quarantine having tested positive for Covid-19.

As well as Alli’s absence, England have rested Stokes and Jofra Archer, Rory Burns is on paternity leave, Ollie Pope is recovering from injury and Adil Rashid – a key figure when they won 3-0 in Sri Lanka in 2018 – is not available for Test cricket.

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence is likely to debut, while England must work out the balance of their attack, having played just one day of warm-up middle practise.

“It’s going to be a tough series for both teams with the conditions,” said Dickwella.  “Compared to 2018, I think we have a better chance with no Archer, no Stokes and a few other good players. But we won’t take it easy, we will play the game as we normally would in Galle.”

Sri Lanka recently suffered a series of injuries as they lost 2-0 in South Africa and will name their squad over the next 24 hours. 


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