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|Dhananjaya de Silva||9||12||0||1||75.00|
|Faf du Plessis||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Quinton de Kock||10||9||2||0||111.11|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||11||36||1||0||30.56|
|Faf du Plessis||49||88||5||0||55.68|
|Quinton de Kock||3||8||0||0||37.50|
AB de Villiers shuffled towards the off-stump and is outfoxed to an in-swinging delivery from Suranga Lakmal, but still manages to send the ball into the orbit over the deep fine leg. This is the first and foremost things which the fans will be missing when South Africa takes on Sri Lanka in the 2-match test series beginning on 12th July 2018. South Africa will be without their star batsman, AB de Villiers, and it would be interesting to see how well they're able to fill that void, if at all. Returning from a poor West Indies' tour, Sri Lanka will be desperate to bounce back in this home series against the Proteas.
The Island nation is going through a tough time as far as their Cricket team is concerned. From losing against a lower seeded team to ball-tampering allegations, they've seen it all. Their woes do not seem to end anytime sooner with Dinesh Chandimal likely to sit out in the opening test of the series with disciplinary charges and a probable suspension looming over his head. He has been included in the squad though. To add insult to injury, we might well see Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath sitting out due to the injuries as well.
Herath split his left-hand's webbing while practicing in West Indies and Kusal Perera collided severely with the advertisement hoarding. Sri Lanka are expected to test South Africa with spin as they've included Lakshan Sandakan in their squad. With Akila Dananjaya, Rangana Herath, and Dilruwan Perera, this latest addition makes their spin department appears to be extremely versatile especially in home conditions. Seamers played a vital role in the series-levelling win at Barbados and Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, and Lahiru Kumara have all been included in the squad.
Sri Lankan batting was an utter failure in the first match of their West Indies tour and Dimuth Karunaratne is likely to return back to his regular opening slot. With Dinesh Chandimal missing, the responsibility on Angelo Matthews has only magnified as far as batting is concerned. Their batting appears to be a little thin on paper, and if they can address that, Sri Lanka will be a tough team to handle for the Proteas.
Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis , Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan.
It took an eternity for the South African team to rise from the retirement of a legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis, and it wouldn't be any different after the retirement of AB de Villiers. It would be interesting to see how the team management decides to fill his place. Their batting did particularly well on a turning P Sara wicket with Amla, Bavuma, and du Plessis hitting fifties. Dean Elgar also got some good batting exercise as he scored 43 runs off 48 deliveries. Markram, Quinton de Kock, and Theunis de Bruyn failed to utilize the opportunity to get acquainted with Sri Lankan conditions and got out cheaply.
Spinners were wreckers-in-chief and were responsible for most of the South African wickets in the practice match. Barring Amla, and Faf du Plessis, no batsman looked certain with his footwork and shot-selection against the spinners.
Dale Steyn's return to the squad was nothing extraordinary. Unlike his recent county stint where he demolished the opponents with sheer pace and accuracy, he conceded 52 runs in 12 overs in the practice match. Tabraiz Shamsi enjoyed bowling on the placid Colombo deck as he was responsible for sending as many as five batsmen to the pavilion. Youngster von Berg was given a long time to bowl in the middle, understandably so, and he picked up two wickets for 82.
All in all, this South African squad looks to be a little light on paper after the retirements of Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers. However, with the experience of du Plessis, Steyn, and Amla still at their disposal, they are a lethal force albeit not as strong as they were against Australia and India.
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, VD Philander, K Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, DW Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi.
With spinner-friendly conditions, batting fourth will be a big challenge here. The team winning the toss should bat first.
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Given the way things panned out in the practice match and conditions of Sri Lanka historically, bowling and playing spin is going to be the most sought-after skill in the opening game. While day two would be the easiest day to bat, batting fourth will be tough. A total of around 350 in the first innings will be a good effort on this slow and turning surface.
Sri Lanka did well to bounce back in Barbados after a poor performance in their first test. South Africa, on the other hand, haven't played competitive cricket in a while now and might be a little rusty. Sri Lanka will be without a few of their key players which definitely gives visitors an edge. With a strong team on paper, the experience of du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, and Dean Elgar, the Proteas look well set to register a win in the first test of the series.
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