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|Faf du Plessis||90||182||11||0||49.45|
|Quinton de Kock||55||62||6||0||88.71|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||2.0||0||8||0||4.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||48||79||6||0||60.76|
|Faf du Plessis||35||54||5||0||64.81|
|Quinton de Kock||80||94||8||1||85.11|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||23||33||3||1||69.70|
Rarely does it happen in test cricket that the two teams come across each other with diametrically opposite form. However, there have been many cases of it happening of-late with India taking on Australia, Sri Lanka taking on New Zealand, and West Indies taking on England. Barring a couple of occasions, the matches in the series turned out to be a lot closer than expected. West Indies, in fact, against all odds defeated England twice in two matches. Sri Lanka and South Africa two teams sitting at the extreme ends of the spectrum as far as the recent form is concerned and will be taking on each other in the three-match test series beginning on February 13th. The first match will be played at Kingsmead, Durban where the visitors have traditionally done well. They are coming into the series with a few heavy defeats behind their backs and will be looking to turn it around against the team they defeated comprehensively around a year ago.
South Africa are coming into the series with a terrific exhibition of test cricket in their recent home campaign against Pakistan. South African bowling was fantastic against the subcontinent team and will be looking to apply the same tactics against the Islanders as well.
Surprisingly, Duanne Olivier was the pick of the bowlers and outperformed the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, and Vernon Philander - which speaks volumes about the strength of the Protean quick-bowling department. With Keshav Maharaj back in the side, their bowling attack appears to be complete, at least on paper.
The Proteas would have gained confidence from the way Hashim Amla batted against South Africa. His contributions have played key roles in all of South Africa's recent results and with Amla back in form, their batting lineup looks stronger. The only apparent weakness is the lack of experience of playing against spin. Although that would have been a concern in subcontinent conditions, it is unlikely that the Proteas will be bothered about it.
The Proteas will be keen to return Sri Lanka the favor of 2-0 drubbing when they toured to Sri Lanka last year. They were greeted with dry surfaces across the tour where Sri Lankan spinners ran riot. With exceptional pace bowling attack, expect South Africa to come in all guns blazing on green and bouncy surfaces.
Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, VD Philander, K Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, DW Steyn, Duanne Olivier.
While their batting unit in Australia was being considered inexperienced, the axing of Dinesh Chandimal has only added to their problems. With both Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal out of the team, there will be a lot of pressure to perform on the young Sri Lankan batsmen.
Dimuth Karunaratne has shown tremendous potential in all the matches he has played in recent times. However, the pressure of leading the side has impacted the performance of even the greats of the game and it will be interesting to see how he fares against potent South African bowlers.
Sri Lanka have plenty of talent at disposal in their batting lineup with the likes of Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Lahiru Thirimanna. However, they all haven't placed much cricket in South African conditions which could be a differentiating factor in the upcoming fixtures.
Although Sri Lankan batting still has some experience of playing test cricket at international level, their bowling unit was futile in their outing against Australia. The surfaces will be a lot different which is something their bowlers will cherish. However, adaptability and discipline will be a key concern for them.
Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis , Dhananjaya de Silva, HDRL Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, MVT Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Embuldeniya.
Both the teams are coming into the series with an exactly opposite run of form. While the Proteas dispatched Pakistan with a 3-0 win, the Sri Lankans were pummelled by the Australians 2-0. Considering the form of the two sides in the recent games and the teams on paper, the Proteas are clear favorites to emerge victorious in the opening game of the series.
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