The start of Test match cricket often unofficially opens the summer months in England and with temperatures beginning to rise ahead of England’s clash with Sri Lanka, that looks to be the case once more.
Don’t expect to see the visitors trotting out at Headingley in short sleeves though, these are still far colder conditions than the Sri Lankans are used to back home.
Aside from the attire of Angelo Mathews’ men, here are three more things to watch out for during the 1st Test:
England’s top order
Despite a number of calls for a reshuffle, England opted to stick with the top three that was in place for the tour of South Africa during the winter.
Both Alex Hales and Nick Compton are under pressure in two of those spots however and both need a big score early on in the series to ensure they don’t lose their spots.
The best bowling side in the world
According to Sri Lanka’s chief selector, the former opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, the visitors are the best bowling attack in world cricket.
Although it may be tempting to scoff at that suggestion, three of the seam bowlers in the squad – Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep – combined superbly to help Sri Lanka record a 100-run victory at Headingley the last time they toured England.
The hostile Dusmantha Chameera supplements that trio, while Rangana Herath remains one of the most wily and skilful spin bowlers in operation.
However easy it may be to pin England’s wicket-taking hopes on the experience of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, it is the return of Steven Finn from injury that could be the real key to England’s bowling success.
The Middlesex man has always proved to hold the knack for snagging victims when he has appeared for the Three Lions and his height and pace provide a nice variation to the swing of Anderson and tight lines of Broad.
Finn is 7/2 to be the leading English wicket taker in the series.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.