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HomeCricketSri Lanka v South Africa 2nd Test Preview

Sri Lanka v South Africa 2nd Test Preview



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test Preview Cricket Preview Cricket Blog

“Get rid of the coin toss for Tests”, exclaims South African skipper Faf du Plessis.

I’m not buying it.
I haven’t heard it before from him when South Africa were thrashing teams at home, so why when in Asia? Sure, there have been pitches in Asia over the last few years that have not been fit for Test cricket in my opinion, but the one in Galle did not warrant the totals his team put up.
One player from Sri Lanka outscored the entire South Africa team across two innings, reflective of the hosts’ absolute dominance in Galle. Their first innings effort of 287 was thanks largely to the brilliant Dimuth Karunaratne, who was a welcome return for Sri Lanka after missing the West Indies Tests. Can he and the bowlers enjoy further success in Colombo?
Well, I’ve had showers longer than South Africa’s batting efforts in Galle, and I hate wasting water. Faf du Plessis should have been talking about the lack of fight from side, stemming from a lack of know-how in how to handle these conditions. The best non-Asian batsmen in Asia over the last 5-10 years – namely Alastair Cook, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Steven Smith and AB de Villiers, all have a key trait. They are patient, have the stomach for the fight and focus immensely on their footwork. South Africa showed none of that at all in Galle, and they must in Colombo to level the series.

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Turn will certainly be on offer from early in the Test. There is no question about it.
Dilruwan Perera is coming off his best ever Test figures (10/78), spinning the South Africans into the largest web they’ve seen since their 2015 tour of India. Backed up by the ever-present Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka will be again banking on these two to cause huge damage to a fragile looking South African line up in these conditions. The key will once again be to focus on the in-between length, causing doubts in the minds of the opposition whether to come forward or go back.
Also, how good was Dimuth Karunaratne? A bowler took a ten-wicket haul yet there was no doubt about the man of the match award, and Dimuth will again be key in Colombo. Who else will step up for Sri Lanka, with Dinesh Chandimal officially rubbed out for this Test?

Key to a South Africa win

From the moment Sri Lanka were on 176/8 in the first innings at Galle, it all went downhill for the Proteas. 
Skipper Faf du Plessis let the hosts off the hook with some passive captaincy, and if he does the same in Colombo, hello 2-0. South Africa simply must keep the pressure on with the ball – Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi (back in the squad) are vital to the team’s chances in hot, humid, spinning conditions. In addition, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn won’t be passengers.
Of course, I sound like an obvious commentator here (who comes to mind?) but South Africa can’t win Tests scoring 126 and 73. They looked as lost as a teenager without their smartphone, and while the toss is important, the Proteas simply must show greater stomach for the fight, with a focus on better technique, too.

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test Preview Cricket Preview Cricket Blog
Good effort from SA’s bowlers in Galle, but it was never going to be enough.

Possible teams

For Sri Lanka, they will probably stick with the same team. Dimuth Karunaratne did outscore South Africa in Galle, but so too his batting teammates, who also need to step up.
Sri Lanka possible XI: 1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Roshen Silva, 7. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8. Dilruwan Perera, 9. Suranga Lakmal (c), 10. Rangana Herath, 11. Lakshan Sandakan
The big question for South Africa is whether Vernon Philander plays. The sad part is that he was one of their best batsmen in the last Test. Also, Tabraiz Shamsi is back in the squad after flying home after the 1st Test.
South Africa possible XI: 1. Dean Elgar, 2. Aiden Markram, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. Temba Bavuma, 5. Faf du Plessis (c), 6. Quinton de Kock (wk), 7. Vernon Philander/Theunis de Bruyn, 8. Keshav Maharaj, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Dale Steyn, 11. Tabraiz Shamsi

Stats and Facts

  • South Africa are winless in eight Tests in Asia, dating back to their victory against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2014.
  • Hashim Amla needs just three runs to reach 9,000 Test runs. Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith are the other two South Africans to achieve this figure.
  • Angelo Mathews needs eight runs to reach 5,000 Test runs. Will become the eight Sri Lankan to the mark.
  • South Africa will keep their no.2 ranking even if they lose this Test. Same applies to Sri Lanka (no.6) even if they win.


There is rain forecast during the match, but I hope there is also a forecast for a more competitive match.
South Africa are known to show great fight, and the time is now. However, Sri Lanka at home is looking a difficult proposition for the Proteas, who look all at sea v spin, which is why I will go with Sri Lanka to take the series 2-0.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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