“Luckily we brought 21 players, otherwise it would be batting coach Grant Flower at No. 3 and me at No. 4 in the next Test,” stated cheekily the Head Coach of Sri Lanka, Mickey Arthur after his team suffered one injury blow after another. That he managed to find a humorous side in such times of adversity is a sight as heartening as any. The sight of an injury-marred Sri Lanka being rolled over in the Centurion Test by an innings – despite having scored their 396, their highest score in South Africa – would not be too heartening for their supporters back home.
“I’ve never faced a situation like this and maybe no one has, where, in one match you lose three bowlers,” stated a bemused Dimuth Karunratne, who, at one stage, had to introduce himself alongside Vishwa Fernando and Kusal Mendis to bowl at the Proteas in the first game, owing to injuries to all his first-choice bowlers. One would want to inevitably sympathize with Sri Lanka and call it misfortune or lack of planning, they are left severely depleted and compromised before the second Test.
While they never had the services of their most experienced campaigner Angelo Mathews (nursing a hamstring injury) in the series, subsequent injuries to Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Oshada Fernando, and Dinesh Chandimal, who all have all been ruled out of the second match, and leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who remains doubtful, has left Sri Lanka little to work around with.
On the other hand are South Africa, who almost had another heart attack when Sri Lanka had piled up a giant first-innings lead at Centurion. The home team’s record against Sri Lanka has been quite unimpressive of late. Not only against Sri Lanka, but South Africa’s recent record – they have lost each of their last three bilateral Test series, despite two of those being home series – anyway inspires little confidence.
In the first Test, however, from Faf du Plessis’ magnificent 199 and Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar’s solidity with the bat to their bowling running through Sri Lanka in the second innings, quite a lot went their way and so did the result. At the nightmarishly pacey and bouncy Wanderers – where hosts have twice handed Sri Lanka innings-defeat in 2002 and 2017 – the Proteas would be keen to stamp a series win, which has remained elusive for over two years now.
Pitch and conditions
The track at Wanderers has a reputation of being one the quickest wickets in the world. Expect heavy assistance for the pacers with the ball seaming and bouncing on a grassy, and full-of-juice pitch. With slightly overcast conditions expected, there is only more good news for the quicks.
Playing combination for SA vs SL
The highlight of the Centurion Test for South Africa was Faf du Plessis’ staggering, career-best knock, whereas Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma managed a fair bit for themselves. Lutho Sipamla made a brilliant comeback after being mistreated due to his indiscipline with the new ball, whereas Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj shone alongside. Kagiso Rabada, who was out of action due to injury, has recovered entirely and will be available. It remains to be seen who paves way for him.
Probable XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (C & WK), Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi/Lutho Sipamla, Kagiso Rabada
Minod Bhanuka and Ashitha Fernando are expected to make their debut as Sri Lanka will have to make a host of forced changes. Lahiru Thirimanne and Bhanuka are set to replace Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva in the Sri Lankan batting order, whereas Dushmantha Chameera and Ashitha Fernando will come in for injured pacers Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara. Lasith Embudeniya will be the first preference if, in case, Wanindu Hasaraga fails to make his place in the eleven.
Probable XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Minod Bhanuka, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Wanindu Hasaranga/Lasith Embuldeniya, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando
SA vs SL Head to Head
Played – 30 | South Africa – 13 | 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.
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