The Boxing Day always promises aplenty, and while these two sides – South Africa and Sri Lanka – might not have a face value as high as that of India and Australia or perhaps even New Zealand and Pakistan, who are set to play on the same day too, those interested in some soaking contest between a travelling Asian team trying to find its feet in the purest format of the game, this series promises to have quite a few offerings.
South Africa, who will return to Test match action for the first time since they lost 3-1 to England at home, for the least, would pray that the series is conducted without any hiccups. Even for a nation that always has a lot ongoing off the field, they have had enough of late. And jolts such as series-cancellation due to faulty bio-secure bubbles leading to COVID outbreaks do little help to a board reeling in too many ways. They will have to fix that.
Having lost eight of their last nine Test matches, South Africa have a lot to fix from a cricketing perspective as well. Two of these defeats have come against Sri Lanka in February 2019, when the tourists completed a famous whitewash of 2-0. However, Sri Lanka, who have not played an international game since March, is not in the best zone either. And while a practice or warmup game would have come in handy, the COVID implications have ensured that the Lankans do not get a chance to remove their webs.
The majority of the Sri Lankan players are coming after three weeks of T20 cricket in the form of the Lanka Premier League, and by the Head Coach Micky Arthur’s admission, “it isn’t ideal” for the side to head into an overseas Test tour on the back of a franchise-based short-format league. The Test-hiatus combined with lack of practice certainly does not help the stocks of Sri Lanka – a team that has ended victorious only six times in their last 20 Test matches.
What Sri Lanka can rejoice about, though, is that four of these six wins have come against their immediate rivals. However, the joy comes with a caveat of Centurion, where the Proteas have a 4-0 record against Sri Lanka. All of that aside, the visitors – who have played only two series considered for WTC, and have 80 points with 2 losses, a draw, and a solitary victory – might well fancy their chance to gain some momentum in the World Test Championship.
Things do not pan brightly for South Africa either, who have a whopping six losses from seven Tests, and quite unsurprisingly, find themselves reeling with only 24 points. After facing the traumas of pandemic and a rather unstable cricketing system, the best way out for the hosts will be to eye a good start to the season.
Pitch and conditions
The Wanderers is renowned for its seaming conditions, and the expectations would not be any different come to the Boxing Day Test. Expect the ball doing everything: swinging, seaming, bouncing, and dancing on a juicy green track. That said, the venue has aided the batsmen too and has recorded enough runs. The spinners do not have much business unless it is a Day-three-track.
Playing combinations for SA vs SL
The newly-appointed skipper Quinton de Kock will be keen to start well alongside the likes of Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen who are coming off impressive performances in the recent past. In Kagiso Rabada’s absence due to his groin injury, Glenton Stuurman is expected to make a debut. The Proteas have roped in Lutho Sipamla and Migael Pretorius due to slight concerns with Lungi Ngidi’s fitness, however, if fit, he will be a default choice.
Probable XI: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (C & WK), Dwaine Pretorius, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, Glenton Stuurman, Lungi Ngidi
The Sri Lankan batsmen, in the absence of their mainstay Angelo Mathews, have plenty of responsibility for their heads. Despite Mathews’ unavailability, the visitors have some experienced campaigners in Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal. Injury to Oshada Fernando has ruled him out of the first Test, whereas Suranga Lakmal stays doubtful due to his hamstring injury. Kasun Rajitha will be in for him alongside Vishwa Fernando and Lahiru Kumara, whereas Lasith Embuldeniya will be on his spin duties.
Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Embuldeniya, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara
SA vs SL Head to Head
Played – 29 | South Africa – 12 | Sri Lanka – 9 | Draw/NR – 8
SA vs SL Broadcast Details
Match Timings- 1:30 PM (IST)
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming– Disney + Hotstar.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Twitter Reactions: Sri Lanka fights back through Karunaratne and Fernando’s heroics on Day 2
- SA vs SL, 2020-21: 1st Test, Day 3 – South Africa’s record total, Faf du Plessis one short of 200 and more stats
- 5 Players who might retire after T20 World Cup 2020
- Twitter Reactions: Sri Lanka Legends steamroll South Africa to register their second consecutive win
- South Africa Legends vs Sri Lanka Legends, Road Safety World Series 2021, Match 8, Match Prediction- Who will win today’s match?