About the Match
South Africa prepared a green top to nullify the Sri Lankan spinners and confident in the knowledge that their batsmen could face up to the Sri Lankan seamers with ease. By the end of the day, a gritty century from dean Elgar and a typically swashbuckling inning from Quinton de Kock had put them well in the driving seat.
Day 2 Preview
South Africa is 297 for 6 with Quinton de Kock and Kyle Abbott at the crease. Scoring almost 300 hundred runs on a pitch that offered significant assistance to the seamers throughout the day was something the South Africans would have been very happy about.
The centurion from the last match, Stephen Cook, was out for a duck but the Sri Lankan bowlers never really made full use of the conditions. Day 2 will be all about South Africa looking to maximize their first inning total and then having a go at Sri Lanka on a second-day pitch that will continue to help the faster bowlers.
We think that Quinton de Kock will go on to complete his century and South Africa will score a total close to 400.
Vernon Philander is still in the shed and he is a very capable batsman as well.
Suranga Lakmal bowled well for his two wickets but it was young Lahiru Kumara, playing in only his second test, who made the best use of the conditions on offer. He bowled with excellent pace and found probing lengths to trouble all the batsmen he bowled to.
He has three wickets currently and we think he is well in line to get a five-for on day 2.
The Sri Lankan batsmen will be required to come out and bat at some point tomorrow and that is when we will have a better idea of how much the pitch is really doing. Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbot, and company would have been disappointed to not get the fresh pitch to bowl on but would be extremely confident of getting the job done even after one and a half days of play.
Philander and Abbot are both very dangerous bowlers but we favor Abbot to be the highest wicket taker for the Proteas.
Keshav Maharaj will also be doing a lot of bowling as Faf du Plessis shuffles the fast bowlers around and keeps them fresh. Rangana Herath showed that even spinner can be dangerous on this pitch but we do not think Maharaj will have too much success on this pitch.
Sri Lanka won an important toss but would be disappointed to find themselves in this position. A score of around 400 would almost certainly spell curtains for any hopes that had of winning this match. Even drawing a match from that position on would mean a largely improved batting performance.
The players to watch out for will be Kusal Mendis, a player of undoubted class, Angelo Mathews, and Upul Tharanga.
Tharanga is making a comeback into the team but has a lot of experience to bank on. He will probably take the number three position and could provide a much stiffer challenge that Kusal Perera for the South African bowlers