High-flying South Africa is ready to face young Sri Lankan in the first Test of three-match series starting from Monday in Port Elizabeth.The hosts will be confident of crushing the visitors’ side after 2-1 series victory against Australia in their back yard.
This will be the first time when captain Faf du Plessis will lead the side as the permanent leader after his friend and former captain AB De Villiers resigned from the captaincy of the Test team.Du Plessis, who himself is in exceptional batting form after scoring a stunning hundred in the last match of the series against Australia, will be hoping that his team will once again lives up to the expectations without two veterans; De Villiers and pacer Dale Steyn.
The hosts will be depending on captain Du Plessis and veteran opener Hashim Amla to provide stability in the batting order, as they will be supported by experienced all-rounder JP Duminy and recently crowned ICC ODI player of the year wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock.
In the bowling department, all eyes will be on young Kagiso Rabada, who will be eager to once again fill the void left by the absence of Steyn, whereas experienced pacer Vernon Philander will be the leader of the pack which will also feature Kyle Abbott and spinner Keshav Maharaj.
For visitors, looking at the past record, where they lost eight out of last the 10 they played on the Proteas soil, things will remain difficult to say the least.The team is still trying to find their real balance after the trio of Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan retired from the longest of the game.The Islanders will be depending on captain Angelo Mathews, who is returning from a long injury lay off, to lead from the front, both with bat and in the field.
The series will be a real test for the likes of promising new comers from the visiting side, which includes Dhananjaya De Silva, who finished Sri Lanka’s last Test series against Australia as the top scorer.The bowling line up is expected to consist of three young pacers Dushmanta Chameera, Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep, who will be accompanied with veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.The pitch is expected to provide assistance to the pacers, and the weather is expected to stay fine throughout, with a little showers expected on day two.