Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Embuldeniya
South Africa (Playing XI): Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier
Sri Lanka have won the toss and have opted to field
An Asian side should be happy to start the series on a slow track. But, this inexperienced Sri Lankan side has more than one problem to address – both on the field as well as off the field. Their batsmen were exposed against the short-pitched deliveries against Australia and the bowling looked toothless. They’ll know that this South African side, if anything, will be more hostile. With the previous captain sacked & dropped, Angelo Mathews still unavailable, couple of pacers out injured … the Sri Lankan selectors made plenty of changes. How will the Islanders perform under their newest captain – Dimuth Karunaratne? Stay tuned. Toss and team updates coming up shortly.
Kingsmead is all in readiness to host this encounter. South Africa don’t have a great record playing at this venue – winning just one of their last eight Tests. The traditional ‘fast-bowler’s paradise’ pitch has been now turned into a ‘slow track’. Will this force the Proteas to pick Keshav Maharaj? If so, which one from the pace quartet (Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier) will be omitted? Good luck, if you’re part of the panel that gets to decide the South African playing XI. While Morne Morkel’s absence hasn’t been felt, the hosts’ batting department – sans AB de Villiers – looks a bit iffy. Hashim Amla, who last scored a Test ton, in October 2017, has the backing of his captain.
09.00 Local Time, 12.30 IST: Sri Lanka’s Test series results in South Africa: 0-2, 0-2, 0-2, 1-2, 0-3. The past records as well as the recent performances show a vast gap between the two sides. Hello and a warm welcome for the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka. While the hosts come into this series on the back of triumphant victories across all formats against Pakistan, it’s the third successive away-series for the Lankans.