Sri Lanka depleted by Chandimal absence in opening Test

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At first glance, perhaps this is not the most enticing of match-ups. At first glance at recent history, it definitely isn’t.The last time South Africa played Sri Lanka – in the summer of 2016-17 in South Africa – they beat the visitors 3-0 on pitches that seamed and spat and rendered Sri Lanka’s batsmen no more than mannequins. But the last time South Africa played in Sri Lanka, two enthralling Tests saw them win a series on the island for only the second time, and the first time in 21 years. In Galle, South Africa used reverse-swing to beat Sri Lanka at their own fortress and in Colombo batted out a draw, to begin with success a short Hashim Amla stint as captain.

South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Theunis de Bruyn, 7 Quinton de Kock (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Dale Steyn

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Rangana Herath has recovered from a split webbing in his hand and should take his place in the XI, and Sri Lanka will need to decide which of Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya or Lakshan Sandakan will partner him. Suranga Lakmal is likely to captain in Chandimal’s absence.

Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne, 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Roshen Silva, 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8 Rangana Herath, 9 Suranga Lakmal (capt), 10 Akila Dananjaya, 11 Lahiru Kumara


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