About the Match
South Africa put in a clinical performance on Day 3 of the test match to put themselves in a supremely commanding position in the match. Only a miracle or some seriously bad weather can save Sri Lanka at this point in time now. Here is what fans can look forward to on Day 4.
Day 4 Preview
South Africa ended the day with a lead of 432 already and they still have five wickets remaining. These many runs should be more than enough for them to comfortably go for victory but they may want to take some more time out of the game.
On the other hand, though, the first session of the day has been the most conducive for fast bowling and the South Africans would probably want to have a crack at the Sri Lankan batsmen when the conditions are the toughest.
Faf du Plessis is an aggressive skipper and we think that South Africa will declare overnight and come out to bowl straight away. This will also take the small element of weather out of the game considering that the forecast for the remaining two days is for spells of rain throughout.
Taking the new ball for South Africa will be Vernon Philander, who was very impressive taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings, and Kyle Abbot, who was equally impressive but did not get the same rewards.
Both these bowlers will be in the running for the highest wicket taker of the innings. We think that Abbot with his pace might be a better bet than Philander and that his luck will eventually turn.
The third seamer, Kagiso Rabada has taken to international cricket like a complete natural, however, he had an unnaturally bad bowling performance in the first innings. He was down on pace and kept missing his lines to give away easy runs.
The Sri Lankans would have noted that and will try to put pressure on Rabada, Maharaj and the fifth change up bowler for South Africa.
The Sri Lankan batsmen showed immaturity and recklessness in the first innings to chase wide deliveries. Kusal Mendis, Kaushal Silva, and Dimuth Karunaratne are the top three for Sri Lanka, making for a very inexperienced lineup. We think that a bet on Sri Lanka losing their first three wickets for less than 50 in the second innings would be a good bet.
The only batsmen to show a little bit of resistance were Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dhananjaya de Silva. Backing the captain Mathews to get the highest score of the innings is a relatively safe option especially taking into account his excellent record against them.
Sri Lanka will find it hard to take this match into the fifth day and even though there is a statistical possibility of them chasing down the total that South Africa set them, it is highly unlikely that they will even end up getting close.
They can take some hope from the 1st
test between Australia and Pakistan where the visitors almost did the impossible but for it to happen again in such a short time seems entirely unimaginable