Initially idea, possibly here is now not the most gorgeous of match-ups. Initially idea at fresh history, it surely is now not.
The final time South Africa performed Sri Lanka – within the summertime of 2016-17 in South Africa – they beat the visitors 3-zero on pitches that seamed and spat and rendered Sri Lanka’s batsmen no extra than mannequins. Nonetheless the final time South Africa performed in Sri Lanka, two gripping Tests seen them pick a series on the island for most interesting the second time, and the principle time in 21 years. In Galle, South Africa outdated reverse-swing to beat Sri Lanka at their dangle fortress and in Colombo batted out a procedure, to commence with success a short Hashim Amla stint as captain.
Noteworthy has changed for South Africa since then, now not least that the captaincy moved from Amla to the now-retired AB de Villiers to Faf du Plessis. Sri Lanka’s leadership has moreover changed – from Angelo Matthews to Dinesh Chandimal – and would possibly possibly merely clean be forced to interchange once more, as Chandimal has accepted a suspension of no lower than two Tests (putting him out of the series) because of a code-of-conduct violation.
Extra’s the pity if that misses out, now not most interesting because of Sri Lanka would include beloved to include him towards a true South African assault, however moreover because of both he and du Plessis include ball-tampering history.
The purpose of curiosity will now be on mighty less unlit issues and the particular cricket would possibly possibly merely clean seize centrestage. South Africa’s batsmen shall be scrutinised towards streak, especially after their 2015 tour to India and extra especially since de Villiers’ retirement; Sri Lanka’s shall be watched towards tempo, though there’s now not anticipated to be mighty of it in these conditions. Initially idea, or now not it is now not a contest for the ages however peep relatively deeper, and it will very successfully be.
(final 5 achieved fits, latest first)
nSri Lanka: WDLWD
nSouth Africa: WWWLL
In the highlight
With 27 Tests and three daddy-thousands (176 towards Australia, 194 and 196 towards Bangladesh) to his title, Kusal Mendis has emerged as undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka’s most achieved younger batsmen, and would possibly possibly merely clean ought to withstand a mighty-vaunted South African assault. Kusal was Sri Lanka’s top-scorer on their tour of the West Indies, three runs gradual the total leader Shane Dowrich, and his 285 runs integrated a century and a half-century. He’s going to hope to protect that form into the South Africa series.
All eyes shall be on Dale Steyn, who’s anticipated to carry out his return after extra than seven months on the sidelines with a heel peril. Steyn made a successful return to fitness for Hampshire, and though he was “rusty” on return to the national camp, Ottis Gibson is clearly wrathful to include him as share of the artillery. So long as Steyn can persist with it the park, he’s all however assured a living within the starting XI, which methodology he would possibly possibly at final total his long quest to damage the South African wicket-takers’ narrative. Nonetheless, obviously, that’s now not all he’s after. Steyn would ought to play no lower than one other plump season and would possibly possibly merely clean ought to label he clean has loads to present.
South Africa are seemingly to head for a seven-batsmen, three-seamer and one spinner aggregate which is able to survey Temba Bavuma slot in at No.four, changing de Villiers, and Theunis de Bruyn at No.6. Lungi Ngidi will miss out for now.
South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, four Temba Bavuma, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Theunis de Bruyn, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), eight Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, eleven Dale Steyn
Rangana Herath has recovered from a atomize up webbing in his hand and would possibly possibly merely clean seize his living within the XI, and Sri Lanka will ought to seize which of Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya or Lakshan Sandakan will partner him. Suranga Lakmal is seemingly to captain in Chandimal’s absence.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne, 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, four Kusal Mendis, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Roshen Silva, 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), eight Rangana Herath, 9 Suranga Lakmal (capt), 10 Akila Dananjaya, eleven Lahiru Kumara
Pitch and stipulations
Sprinklings of rain were spherical within the produce-up to the match, for about a hours day after day for the final week, which would possibly possibly indicate an interrupted Test on a pitch that has now not dried out as mighty as the groundstaff would include hoped. For the hosts, that methodology they’re going to ought to wait on for enough sunshine to dry the surface out sooner than this could perhaps merely provide the flip they want. South Africa will welcome that news, and would possibly possibly merely clean hope their quicks would possibly possibly possibly be extra advantageous early on. Temperatures will nudge in the direction of 30 levels Celsius with humidity of spherical ninety% on each and each of the 5 days.
Stats and trivialities
Dale Steyn wants three wickets to overtake Shaun Pollock and was South Africa’s leading Test wicket-taker.
Hashim Amla wants 18 extra runs to salvage to 9000 in Tests. If he will get there, he frequently is the 1/3 South African batsman to the landmark after Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith.
Kusal Mendis wants three extra runs to was the 18th Sri Lankan to 2000 Test runs.
The final time a Test was drawn in Sri Lanka was on South Africa’s final tour in July 2014, in Colombo. Since then, 19 fits were performed and Sri Lanka include received eleven.
Faf du Plessis: I cease feel interior our bowling assault that we cease include the capability to salvage 20 wickets on whatever the surface is. This series shall be one where the batters ought to come up from both groups. Sri Lanka are within the same boat – they’ve bought very correct spinners and they’re going to take a seat down there pondering they’ve bought the capability to salvage 20 wickets as successfully. That’s where it is doubtless you’ll perhaps survey the series received or misplaced – within the batting division.
Roshen Silva: We know that the Galle wicket is repeatedly gorgeous for spinners. We now have not had a probability to envision out the wicket here because it has been below covers extra usually than now not. We are in a position to seize a peep the next day morning after that will seize on transfer ahead.
*Sage has been updated following Sri Lanka’s code-of-conduct hearing