Sri Lanka’s dream of repeating the success of 2018-19 Tour
South Africa to win
It is after a gap of nearly a year that South Africa and Sri Lanka would be taking field in a Test Match. The last time the two sides had met in a Test series resulted in one of the most historic wins for the Sri Lankan as they became the first Asian side to whitewash the South Africans in South Africa. The Lankans would look to relive the magic while the South Africans would like to get the scar off their back with a good show in this game.
Sri Lankans have been poor tourists in the recent years and other than that historic Test series they have mostly struggled in away conditions. The side lacks a good pace attack that can cause trouble to the South Africans. For the hosts who have had several problems off the field in the recent past they would like to win back the confidence of their fans with a good result in this game.
Quinton de Kock would like to erase the memories of Sri Lanka’s last tour to his country when the visitors surprised everyone to win the Test series 2-0 causing humiliation to the South Africans. Lot has changed since then and Sri Lanka hasn’t played a Test Match for a while. The South African skipper would look to make a positive start here and take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the series.
The side would look forward to a good start from openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar as both these players have settled in this role. The middle order has good strength with the experience of de Kock and Faf du Plessis. The presence of Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius down the order adds to the batting strength and they would be looking to make most out of Sri Lanka’s inexperienced bowling attack.
The South Africans have a very strong bowling attack with Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi sharing the new ball for the side. They would miss the services of Kagiso Rabada but the new ball attack packs good punch with Wiaan Mulder in the side. Keshav Maharaj, Pretorius and Lutho Sipamla would be expected to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen in these conditions.
Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla, Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder
Faf du Plessis, Anrich Nortje, Quinton de Kock, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen
Dimuth Karunaratne hasn’t had much to cheer over the last few years but the Sri Lankan skipper would like his side to draw inspiration from their last series victory in South Africa. Their batsmen would be put under test in these conditions and they would have to come up with a determined performance here. South Africa has their weaknesses and Karunaratne would look to exploit those in this game.
The side would expect a good start at the top from openers Karunaratne and Oshada Fernando. The middle order looks very strong for the team with the presence of Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. With Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva to follow in the batting line-up the side has good strength going into the game. They would need to be mindful of the conditions and play their strokes judiciously.
It will be a big ask for the new ball pair of Suranga Lakmal and Kasun Rajitha as they will need to strike early against the strong batting line-up that the South Africans have. Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumar and Dhananjaya de Silva would be expected to bowl tight lines and keep their ends tied during the game.
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara
Niroshan Dickwella, Kasun Rajitha, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Vishwa Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||21||0 mm.||2.86 k/h||From: NNE||38%|
|03h||20||0 mm.||1.73 k/h||From: NNW||11%|
|06h||23||0 mm.||3.04 k/h||From: NW||3%|
|09h||29||0 mm.||2.93 k/h||From: NW||0%|
|12h||29||0 mm.||2.07 k/h||From: NNW||25%|
|15h||28||0 mm.||0.67 k/h||From: NW||73%|
|18h||26||0 mm.||1.02 k/h||From: NW||67%|
|21h||24||0 mm.||2.49 k/h||From: N||33%|
The skies would be overcast on Day 1 of the game while the next two days are likely to see rains at Centurion starting December 26. Batting would be best in the first two days of the game and the ball would start taking turn from Day 3 onward. Batsmen will have to be watchful in the opening session of play where the ball is likely to move around most. Overall it would be a good wicket for Test cricket.
SuperSport Park, Centurion has been a good hunting ground for the fast bowlers. There is grass cover on the track and this allows them to generate bounce and moment. Batsmen who build their innings have done well at this venue. Like most South African tracks, spinners come into play on this surface from Day 3 as there is little for them on the first two days.
In the last 10 years sides that have batted first upon winning the toss have gone on to win eight out of the nine games here. It is one of the best wickets in South Africa to bat on. Hence we expect the side winning the toss to have no hesitation in batting first and making good use of the conditions.
Sri Lanka is a team in transition and they still haven’t got their side settled. There are still weaknesses in the bowling attack and the constant chopping and changing haven’t helped the matters much here. South Africa on the other hand looks a very strong side both in the batting and bowling departments. Their knowledge of the conditions would be a huge bonus and this would make the South Africans favorites to win this game.
South Africa to win