A Test Of Character
At LWOS, we bring to you the SA vs SL 1st test preview.
A lot has been made of the Proteas’ struggles in the last 18 months and rightly so. Various policies have received blame. Retirements have added to the cause. Now, is a chance for the South African team to put all that behind them and start a new era in test cricket.
Their opponents will be no pushovers. Sri Lanka are a young yet exciting test match team who have lots of potential stars.
Supersport Park, Centurion is the venue for the first test match. But, just how will both sides fare when they meet on Boxing Day?
Sri Lanka beat South Africa the last time they visited the shores in 2019 February. It was a shock result and Kusal Perera played the innings of his life. They became and still remain the only Asian team to win a test series in South Africa.
Sri Lanka also overturned South Africa at home in the 2018 series 2-0.
In fact, South Africa have lost their last four test matches against Sri Lanka. Their last test win against this opposition was the 3-0 drubbing they handed out in the 2016/17 season, with Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander running riot.
Overall, South Africa has played 29 test matches against Sri Lanka, winning 14, losing 9 and drawing 6.
South Africa are going into the series having not won a test series since December/January 2018. Sri Lanka began the Proteas’ misfortune. Can they be the ones to end it?
The game is being played at Supersport Park Centurion. A stadium which is traditionally a stronghold for South Africa. Asian sides don’t win at this ground. Even England lost at this venue last year.
South Africa have a much stronger side on paper for the given conditions, but how much will the absence of lead bowler Kagiso Rabada, affect the side?
The bowling line-up is inexperienced and therefore South Africa cannot afford batting collapses like last time, because it is unlikely that they will be bailed out of trouble. The bright spot is Anrich Nortje. The electric speedster seems to be growing with each game he plays. His heroics in the 2020 IPL, along with Kagiso Rabada helped Delhi Capitals reach the final of the tournament.
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Sri Lanka will be buoyed by the fact that the players who contributed to the series win last tour, are all available for selection. They stepped up in Angelo Mathews’ absence last time, can they do it again?
They will have to bowl well to restrict South Africa to moderate totals, otherwise it could provide inexperienced seamers a chance to hurt Sri Lanka’s batsmen.
Both Beuran Hendricks and Keegan Petersen have been withdrawn from South Africa’s test match squad. No specific reason has been given but it is likely that they may have tested positive for Covid-19 or been in close distance of someone who has and have had to self-isolate.
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Raynard Van Tonder, Dwiane Pretorius and Lutho Sipamla have all been called up in their absence.
Angleo Mathews is ruled out of the entire series with a hamstring injury. He did not play in the last tour as well, but Sri Lanka still won. Kagiso Rabada will likely not be available as he is nursing a groin injury.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Faf Du Plessis, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Raynard Van Tonder / Dwaine Pretorius / Wiaan Mulder, Temba Bavuma, Quinton De Kock (C) (WK), Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Glenton Stuurman.
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Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (C) , Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha.
Had Kagiso Rabada been fully fit, the prediction would have definitely sided with the hosts. However, Sri Lanka have much more of a chance against an inexperienced bowling attack. Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi will need to step up and have a big series with the ball.
Despite this, the form of Quinton De Kock, Aiden Markram and the emergence of Rassie Van Der Dussen gives South Africa an edge in the batting department over Sri Lanka.
“Hungry Proteas ready to hit the ground running.” says Aiden Markram
Expect the first test to be closely fought at the start, but South Africa to have too much firepower as the game goes on and win.
We hope you enjoyed our SA vs SL 1st test preview.
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