England - Sri Lanka 2nd Test preview: Teams head to Durham, with tourists in need of big improvements

England and Sri Lanka meet in the second Test at Durham, which begins on Friday, with England 1-0 up in the Test series

England - Sri Lanka 2nd Test preview: Teams head to Durham, with tourists in need of big improvements
James Anderson takes the applause following his ten-wickets in the opening Test (image via: PA)

Following their humbling innings defeat at Headingley last week, Sri Lanka head to Durham to face England in need of a vast improvements. 

Having been bowled out for 91 and 119, big questions remain over whether the Sri Lankan batsmen can deal with the swinging conditions which may be even more severe at Chester-le-Street, than they were in Leeds

England will admit that they were nowhere near their best with the bat in the First Test, and will be hoping for a more complete batting performance themselves. On the bowling front, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad looked to be fully firing in the opening Test, sharing 15 wickets and will hope for more of the same in Durham.

Woakes and Ball battle it out for final spot

After Ben Stokes was ruled out for the remainder of the Sri Lankan series, the England selectors handed a call-up to Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes, who responded in the best way possible, snaring incredible figures of 9-36 for his county against Durham at Edgbaston, in a game they eventually lost. 

Ben Stokes will miss his home test following a knee injury (image via: Getty)

Former England star Paul Collingwood, who was one of Woakes' nine victims, claimed that the "international-class bowling" the Warwickshire man produced would have seen many teams crumble.

Trevor Bayliss and Alastair Cook now face the decision over whether to bring Woakes straight into the starting XI, or to hand a debut to Jake Ball who was 12th man in Leeds and named in the original squad for the Durham Test. 

The remainder of the team will remain the same, apart from some potential re-jigging to the batting lineup to accomodate Woakes or Ball, with Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali likely to jump up a spot. 

With the top order always a big discussion, Alex Hales played a great hand, making 86 in the First Test, and will want more of the same, while Nick Compton has admitted that he is playing for his Test career following a duck in his only innings of the series to date.

Lakmal set to return as Chameera leaves tour

Sri Lanka were handed another blow this week with the news that fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera has suffered a tour-ending back injury. 

His place in the line-up is expected to go to Suranga Lakmal, who will join Nuwan Pradeep and Shaminda Eranga in spear-heading the visitors seam attack. 

The bowlers didn't get much wrong in Leeds, and if it hadn't been for Bairstow's innings, England may not have scored many more than their Sri Lanka managed in their batting efforts. 

The middle-order of Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne will be crucial to the Sri Lankans gaining a result during the Test series and will need to be at the top of their game in Durham. 

The 4-0 Super Series lead England have gained following the first fixture has given them early momentum, and it is up to the tourists to wrestle that back starting on Friday.