Going through a turbulent time and trying to shrug off their poor run under new skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka visit South Africa for a full tour comprising two Tests, five ODIs and three T20I fixtures between February 13th and March 24th, 2019.
The visitors will kick-start their tour with a two-match Test series that begins from 13th February close on the heels of the Dinesh Chandimal-led unit being completely thrashed in the two-match Test series against Australia. They will not find it easy as South Africa will pose a bigger threat in their own conditions. The batting will need to raise their game or else it could be another whitewash in the making for Sri Lanka.
South Africa has long been a dreadful place for tourists with the likes of India and Australia succumbing to a South African side looking to build towards a sustainable future without superstar, AB de Villiers.
Can a revamped Sri Lanka who are on the mend since their disappointing Australian tour change that? Or will South Africa, who are firm favourites to strike first against a talented but inexperienced Sri Lankan side come up trumps?
01.30pm – 1st Test February 13th, Wednesday @ Kingsmead, Durban
01.30pm – 2nd Test February 21st, Thursday @ St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
01.30pm – 1st ODI March 03rd, Sunday @ The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
04.30pm – 2nd ODI March 06th, Wednesday @ SuperSport Park, Centurion
01.30pm – 3rd ODI March 10th, Sunday @ Kingsmead, Durban
04.30pm – 4th ODI March 13th, Wednesday @ St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
04.30pm – 5th ODI March 16th, Saturday @ Newlands, Cape Town
09.30pm – 1st T20I March 19th, Tuesday @ Newlands, Cape Town
09.30pm – 2nd T20I March 22nd, Friday @ SuperSport Park, Centurion
06.00pm – 3rd T20I March 24th, Sunday @ The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Tests (Since 1993)
Total played – 27
South Africa Won – 14
Sri Lanka Won – 7
Drawn – 6
One Day Internationals (Since 1992)
Total ODI played – 71
South Africa Won – 38
Sri Lanka Won – 31
Tied – 1
No Result – 1
First Match: Benson & Hedges World Cup – 14th match, Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets at Basin Reserve, Wellington on March 2, 1992
Last Match: 5th ODI; Sri Lanka won by 178 runs at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Aug 12, 2018
Twenty20 Internationals (Since 2012)
Total T20I played – 10
South Africa won – 5
Sri Lanka won – 5
First Match: ICC World Twenty20 – 7th match, South Africa won by 32 runs at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Sept 22, 2012
Last Match: Only T20I – Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Aug 14, 2018
South Africa are set to field their strongest possible side with Keshav Maharaj most likely to return to the side at the expense of Vernon Philander. Faf du Plessis will lead the side after a suspension in the previous series and will play at number five, with the presence of De Kock at seven making for a scary batting line-up.
Wiaan Mulder, the 20-year-old all-rounder, has been added to the South Africa Test squad. Uncapped at the Test level, he is the only addition to the Test team that clinched a 3-0 win against Pakistan recently.
Mulder, who had earned his Test call-up during the series against Australia last year, has played eight ODIs for South Africa since his international debut against Bangladesh in October 2017. Mulder, however, was forced to miss a majority of the series against Zimbabwe in September-October 2018 due to an ankle injury and was out of international action until the fifth ODI against Pakistan in January this year.
Meanwhile, Lungi Ngidi, who is recovering from a knee injury, continues to be on the sidelines with the selectors keen on not rushing him back into action.”We never want to rush players back from injury because that can be counter-productive, but he has now had a couple of good weeks of action in the 4-Day Domestic Series,” Zondi said of Mulder’s fitness while adding that they will take time with Ngidi. “For the same reason we are not going to rush Lungi Ngidi back into international action until he has had the time to gain full match fitness.”
Keshav Maharaj has said South Africa are confident of dominating Sri Lanka in the upcoming two-Test series and Dimuth Karunaratne and Co. are in for a stern Test from a bowling line-up that is too strong on paper with names like Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier.
For Sri Lanka the likes of Dilruwan Perera and Dinesh Chandimal have been dropped for this series owing to poor form with Dimuth Karunaratne taking over the reins. Young talents are being promoted by the selectors with domestic performances being given the credit they deserve.
Angelo Perera stands a chance to debut for Sri Lanka at number five. Perera recently scored two double hundreds in the same first-class match and would be one to watch out for. It’s a toss-up between Milinda Siriwardene and Dhananjaya De Silva for the all-rounder spot with the latter likely to get the nod considering his extra ability with the ball. Suranga Lakmal is reportedly fit to play and will be key for the Island nation.
The likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal need to show responsibility and score runs for the side in this series. The trio failed to produce runs for the side in their previous trip to the country in 2016. Chandimal will need to dig deep and grind out runs for the side against a formidable unit like South Africa.
Lahiru Thiramanne showed some fight and determination in the recently concluded tour to Australia. He scored 115 runs in 4 innings at an average of 28.75. Thiramanne will certainly be keen to score runs on his first trip to South Africa.
Wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella was the only one who showed positive intent against Australian bowlers. He topped the batting charts for Sri Lanka with 140 runs in 4 innings at an average of 35.00. Dickwella will be keen to continue his good form in this two-match series against South Africa.
In the bowling department, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha are three pace options for the side. Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan are spin options for the side for the two-match series.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Embuldeniya
South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn
Although the series is billed as South Africa’s pace versus Sri Lanka’s batsmen, the pitches at SA have changed over the years from the usual fast bowlers’ paradise to that which slows down with time. This could be a great start to a series that could even out as it progresses.
Redemption time for the Lankans!
Who is your Super 8?
Leagues up in the Lobby, Go get ’em champs!