Injury hit Sri Lanka’s challenge to level Test Series against confident hosts
South Africa to win
Sri Lanka has a catch up role to play as they meet the South Africans in the 2nd Test Match at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. It was a fall from grace for the Lankans after having put up 360 runs on the board on Day 1 at Centurion to lose the game by an innings and 45 runs in the end. They were unlucky to have suffered six injuries during the course of the game and lost their three key bowlers to see the South Africans put up 621 runs on the board and batting them out of the game.
It will be a huge challenge for the Sri Lankan bowlers to dismiss the South Africans twice in the game after losing three of their strike bowlers for this game. Their batting line-up has also been hurt with the absence of Dhananjaya de Silva. With momentum on their side the hosts would be looking to make the most out of Sri Lanka’s misery in this game.
It was a wonderful start to Quinton de Kock’s career as regular Test skipper as his side won the game comfortably in the end. Apart from their show on Day 1 the South Africans dominated most of the game and exploited the injury-hit opponents. Quinton de Kock would now look to start the New Year with a win and take the series 2-0 in what would be the prefect start for his career as captain.
Openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar are in good form and they would be eager to provide the side with a good start in this game. Rassie van der Dussen and de Kock missed out in the last game and they would look to make amends. Faf du Plessis was unlucky to have missed out on a well-deserved double ton in the last game. Temba Bavuma played well down the order and so did Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj and this makes the batting line-up formidable.
Apart from their poor show on Day 1 the South African bowlers did well in the last game. Lungi Ngidi bowled with lot of heart and Kagiso Rabada’s comeback would strengthen the bowling for the side. Wiaan Mulder stood out for his good show. With Keshav Maharaj and Anrich Nortje in the side the hosts have the right bowling attack to dismiss Sri Lanka twice in the game.
Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Anrich Nortje, Quinton de Kock, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen
Dimuth Karunaratne would consider his side unlucky to have lost the last game by an innings after the great start on Day 1. But he had little luck on this side to have seen six of his key players getting injured during the course of the game. They would have to come up with several changes in the game. With the spirits down in the camp Karunaratne would look forward to a determined effort from his players here.
They will expect a good start from Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perara in this game. Both these players looked in good form in the last game. Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis would have to assume additional responsibility in the game after Dhananjaya de Silva is out with an injury. Oshada Fernando and Santhush Gunathilaka would have to play good roles down the order for the side to put up a good fight against the good bowling attack that South Africans have.
Three of their main bowlers have been ruled out due to injury which has served a huge blow to the side. Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera will need to start off the proceedings well in this game in the absence of Kasun Rajitha. Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga and Lahiru Kumara would have to bow good lines in this game if they are to put up a challenge against the South Africans here
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Santhush Gunathilaka, Oshada Fernando, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara
Niroshan Dickwella, Dushmantha Chameera, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Vishwa Fernando, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lahiru Thirimanne
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||15||0 mm.||3.79 k/h||From: ENE||96%|
|03h||15||0 mm.||3.28 k/h||From: ENE||93%|
|06h||17||0 mm.||3.99 k/h||From: NE||79%|
|09h||22||0 mm.||4.76 k/h||From: NNE||69%|
|12h||25||0 mm.||3.34 k/h||From: N||47%|
|15h||26||0 mm.||2.49 k/h||From: WNW||23%|
|18h||21||0.10 mm.||3.66 k/h||From: SE||56%|
|21h||19||0.20 mm.||4.1 k/h||From: E||96%|
There are predictions for overcast skies and rains at Johannesburg start from January 03 and we would see the ball move around a bit in the game. Batting would be best in the first two days of the game and there would be turn for the spinners from Day 3. It is still one of the best wickets to bat on and the side that bats first would be targeting a score above 400 runs in the 1st innings.
The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg is without doubt the best batting surface in South Africa. The ball comes on to the bat nicely and allows the batsmen to play their strokes who are aided by a fast outfield. Fast bowlers do get some assistance off the surface with the new ball. Spinners do well at this venue as the ball is known for taking sharp turn from Day 3 onward.
In the last 10 games played at this venue the side batting first has won all the games. The pitch is best to bat on in the first three days of the game and it becomes difficult as the game progresses. The side that wins the toss here should have no hesitation in opting to bat first in this game.
Sri Lanka would be under immense pressure going into this game. Injuries to their ley players have hurt the balance for the side and the manner in which they lost the last game after a good start would have surely hurt their confidence. The South Africans have ended the year on a high and now back in full strength they would look to whitewash their opponents. They are ahead both with the bat and the ball and start favorites in this game.
South Africa to win