South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Centurion December 14, 2011

South Africa must make home advantage count

54

Match Facts

December 15-19, Centurion
Start time 1030 (0830GMT)

The Big Picture

When discussion turns to contenders for the top spot in Test cricket, South Africa feature prominently in the debate. Yet they haven't won a home Test series since 2008 - and that was against Bangladesh - having watched leads evaporate against Australia recently and India last year. If they have serious aspirations to return to the top of the table they need to win this series against Sri Lanka.

Everything suggests that should be well within their grasp. Sri Lanka have had a poor 2011 since reaching the World Cup final and have suffered three consecutive series defeats; against England, Australia and Pakistan. Although each was only a 1-0 margin there was a clear gap between them and their opposition. It's a void that they'll struggle to narrow against South Africa.

There was always going to be a tough period in Sri Lanka's history when Muttiah Muralitharan (not to mention Chaminda Vaas) departed the scene and the bowling attack is thin. However, in many ways the bigger concern is the form of the top order. With the honourable exception of Kumar Sangakkara the big names have failed to fire consistently. More is needed from Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera.

It will be a severe challenge for them against Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, who made an impressive start to his Test career against Australia. They will be looking forward to the prospect of testing out the Sri Lankan batsmen on a bouncy, green Centurion pitch.

South Africa, though, have to take this series by the scruff of the neck if their reputation isn't to suffer. They have not always coped well when expectations have been high.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

South Africa LWDLW
Sri Lanka DLDDD

Watch out for...

Dale Steyn is the attack leader and Vernon Philander the new kid on the block, but don't forget about Morne Morkel. He has moved to first change rather than being Steyn's new-ball partner so when the Sri Lanka openers take strike they'll have that nagging thought that Morkel's steepling bounce is still awaiting them. Morkel's Test record - 121 wickets at a touch under 30 - is impressive but there is a feeling it could be even better. Against a visiting team unsure of conditions, this is a chance for Morkel to make a mark.

Tillakaratne Dilshan has been up and down the batting order this year as Sri Lanka try to find a combination that works. Against England, at Lord's, he hit a fabulous 193 as opener but then moved down to No. 5 when Australia visited before returning to the top for the final Test against Pakistan where he hit 92. Like with Virender Sehwag there will be times when Dilshan produces something fairly unflattering against the new ball but he also has the ability to set a tone and lead from the front. He won't back down against South Africa's quicks and that should make fascinating viewing.

Team news

South Africa are expected to stick with the side that faced Australia which means no recall for Alvrio Petersen but Jacques Rudolph is on notice that he needs to convert his starts at the top of the order. However, perhaps most under pressure is Mark Boucher who needs a strong series to convince people that his career isn't on the wane.

South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Jacques Rudolph, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Ashwell Prince, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

Sri Lanka named a 12-man squad on the eve of the Test which included both spinners - Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath - but with conditions likely to favour the seamers it would be a gamble to have just two frontline pacemen. Their options are limited, however, with Nuwan Pradeep having flown home injured. Sangakkara, who split the webbing on his right hand in the warm-up match, will have a final fitness test but the signs were promising.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 2 Tharanga Paranavitana, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Kaushal Silva (wk), 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Chanaka Welegedara

Pitch and conditions

The pitch was as green as Pakistan's kit the day before the match so the pace bowlers on both sides will be licking their lips. The weather was overcast for training, with similar conditions expected through the game but no major rain forecast. However, there may be some afternoon thunderstorms as is common on the Highveld.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have played seven Tests in South Africa and only avoided defeat once with a draw in Durban in 2000 when rain washed out the fourth day.

  • However, four Sri Lankan players from that Kingsmead Test are due to play in Centurion; Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dilhara Fernando - who took 5 for 98

  • South Africa have won 12 of their 16 Tests in Centurion, the only defeat coming in the rain-affected 2000 match against England when Hansie Cronje set up the final-day run chase.

Quotes

"Whenever there's a subcontinent team, it's always the talk. That's the reality that Sri Lanka face, that our pace bowlers are in their own conditions and want to exploit that."
Graeme Smith suggests the visitors will face barrage.

"If we can play our brand of cricket, we can beat any team in any conditions."
However, Tillakaratne Dilshan was also bullish

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • veerakannadiga on December 15, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    As a neutral I would like to watch a series of tough cricket. I support both SA & SL as they have given many a joy to fans like me. Alas how I miss th egolden oldies........Donald, Jonty , Shaun Pollock, Arvinda, Sanath, Arjuna....... Go guys sweat it out. Let the best Team win.

  • JG2704 on December 15, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @khiladisher on (December 14 2011, 15:44 PM GMT) - Why do you feel the need to quote India's selective history on this particular thread?

  • lucasharrison on December 15, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    Very weak SL attack, looking forward to watching Steyn bowl on this pitch

  • Amol_Gh on December 15, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Even if SRL are able to stretch a Test to the **FIFTH** day (weather permitting ofcourse), that would be more than expected from them. I can't envision SRL capturing 10 wickets of SA in any innings: whether Tests or ODIs.

  • on December 15, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Ajantha mendis should play

  • Prema1948 on December 15, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    SL's troubles lies with their sel'tors as they're unable to look beyond seniors though they've enough y'ng players of proven ability, who're far better than y'ng S'kara,M'ela or D'shan . At a time 99% fit seniors'd win only 1 out of last 18 T m'ches, what's more can the fans expect from 50% fit players. D'shan, after his fractured finger, was rested only for 1 match. M'ela was also a recent casualty. It's all the more difficult to hold the bat with the kind of injury that S'kara is having. It isn't possible to play with an injury even against a club team let alone a team like SA. This kind of situations arises because seniors don't want youngsters to grab their places; just because they are prepared even to play with one limb missing, it's the responsible officials duty to take right decisions that are good for the Country. Individuals may come & go but the Country's Cricket has to go on. There is no harm even if we lose few matches with youngsters rather than with seniors.

  • Amu7 on December 15, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    SRL should lose this 3-0.They dont have batting to put up a total nor the bowling to take 20 wickets.Pitches will all end up having bit of pace and touch of movement which would be death knell for lankan batters.Really Proteas would be licking their lips to hand a perfect whipping to a mediocre outfit and set their home record str8.It would be wildest dream for lanka to even draw a single game let alone get a win.Sorry Lankan fans your team like always away from home is downright pathetic

  • on December 15, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    i think SL will struggle in SA because the are slow pitches player.

  • on December 15, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    India will win a test match in AUS. Sri Lankans???

  • BravoBravo on December 15, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    @bMike: AMEN to that. And let the show begin, go SL and do your best.

  • veerakannadiga on December 15, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    As a neutral I would like to watch a series of tough cricket. I support both SA & SL as they have given many a joy to fans like me. Alas how I miss th egolden oldies........Donald, Jonty , Shaun Pollock, Arvinda, Sanath, Arjuna....... Go guys sweat it out. Let the best Team win.

  • JG2704 on December 15, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @khiladisher on (December 14 2011, 15:44 PM GMT) - Why do you feel the need to quote India's selective history on this particular thread?

  • lucasharrison on December 15, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    Very weak SL attack, looking forward to watching Steyn bowl on this pitch

  • Amol_Gh on December 15, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Even if SRL are able to stretch a Test to the **FIFTH** day (weather permitting ofcourse), that would be more than expected from them. I can't envision SRL capturing 10 wickets of SA in any innings: whether Tests or ODIs.

  • on December 15, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Ajantha mendis should play

  • Prema1948 on December 15, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    SL's troubles lies with their sel'tors as they're unable to look beyond seniors though they've enough y'ng players of proven ability, who're far better than y'ng S'kara,M'ela or D'shan . At a time 99% fit seniors'd win only 1 out of last 18 T m'ches, what's more can the fans expect from 50% fit players. D'shan, after his fractured finger, was rested only for 1 match. M'ela was also a recent casualty. It's all the more difficult to hold the bat with the kind of injury that S'kara is having. It isn't possible to play with an injury even against a club team let alone a team like SA. This kind of situations arises because seniors don't want youngsters to grab their places; just because they are prepared even to play with one limb missing, it's the responsible officials duty to take right decisions that are good for the Country. Individuals may come & go but the Country's Cricket has to go on. There is no harm even if we lose few matches with youngsters rather than with seniors.

  • Amu7 on December 15, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    SRL should lose this 3-0.They dont have batting to put up a total nor the bowling to take 20 wickets.Pitches will all end up having bit of pace and touch of movement which would be death knell for lankan batters.Really Proteas would be licking their lips to hand a perfect whipping to a mediocre outfit and set their home record str8.It would be wildest dream for lanka to even draw a single game let alone get a win.Sorry Lankan fans your team like always away from home is downright pathetic

  • on December 15, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    i think SL will struggle in SA because the are slow pitches player.

  • on December 15, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    India will win a test match in AUS. Sri Lankans???

  • BravoBravo on December 15, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    @bMike: AMEN to that. And let the show begin, go SL and do your best.

  • chad_reid on December 15, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    Sri Lanka = no chance...................

  • on December 15, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    SL Will win 4 sure....and India will loose to AUS 4 sure..not to mention Pakistan....

  • atthipatti on December 15, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    @bMike...Welcome to the world of cricket!! How do you feel following a new sport?? After these 2 series you mentioned, you would surely have gained a lot of experience... good luck!

  • on December 15, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    finally SA has the chance to avenge their defeat in srilanka.....

  • Ameega on December 15, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    @ather_aziz, Not only you, most of the non-SL and non-SA commentors here will! I wish you good luck ather_aziz.

  • Ameega on December 15, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    Sri Lankans should improve their performance from their last three 1-0 series defeats. They should be humble and should learn from India how to play like world champs.See how did they perform in England, and make it 3-0 in favour of SA. Is this what (most of the) Indians commenting here need to say (or wish)? And if someone forgot the Sri Lankan brand of play, would like to remind Sanath's thrashing 189 + dismissing the (WHOLE) opponent team to a mere 054 in Sharjah. Guess the opponent...

  • Afridynamite on December 15, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    @ather_aziz I agree with you, I will be surprised if Sri Lanka put up any fight with this bowling unit

  • on December 15, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    Kaushal Silva has been given a chance again, but why? Even in the last Pakistan series he got trapped when trying to pull a short delivery from Umar Gul. and that happened in Dubai. There's no chance for him to play well in SA pitches. They should have used Chandimal instead of him.

    We can't blame Indians for not supporting SL here, When it comes to Indian matches not many Sri Lankans support India. But when it comes to playing against a sub-continent team, outer world never wants to see them winning ( I admit there are neutrals as well).

    Coming back to the match, SL are not likely to be end up as winners. But We have played decent Cricket in England and Also in the last year's Aus series. I sense We have improved the skill of playing in bouncy tracks.

    This isn't the first time We've been in low, A rainbow can only be seen after a rain. Expect the end of rain. Dilhara will make a difference!

  • ather_aziz on December 15, 2011, 0:38 GMT

    If Sri Lanka even wins one test match in this series I will be shocked to death

  • bMike on December 15, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    Hope SL will win the test series 2-0 & India will lose to Australia 4-0 (how they lost in England)

  • Tigg on December 14, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    Only one side has a weaker test match seam attack than Sri Lanka at the moment and that is bangladesh. Every other side has a figurehead or pair of seamers that lead the attack and threaten.

    England and Australia have deep pace bowling stocks, ditto the Saffers. Pakistan don't seem to know how to make a bad fast bowler. The windies have Rampaul, Roach, Edwards and Sammy. The kiwis have a good young pace squad lead by the aging but still potent Martin. Zimbabwe have unearthed Jarvis and Vitori and even the Indians seem to be unearthing some promising seamers. Sri Lanka have basically nothing.

  • on December 14, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    all the best on SL batsmen to face the biggest challenge after WC

  • Chris_P on December 14, 2011, 22:26 GMT

    SL will really battle to compete with Saffers in their own back yard. Their pace attack is renowned & experienced with their batsmen well versed on playing on these wickets. I am not denigrating SL, just stating facts. The SL batsmen are good enough, but theiir bowlers are down a level when compared to the Saffers. To make a mark out of their home grounds, they really need to produce at least one quick qicket in their country for their bowlers to improve their knowledge, and they have perfect conditions to utilize. No doubt, with the retirement of Murali & Vaas, they were always going to struggle, as all countries do when their experienced foundation base goes (take note India when your legends go). The way back is difficult, and many roads need to be crossed. Good luck to both sides.

  • sehwaguparcut on December 14, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    there is so much focus on Steyn & co, but Toss is crucial - Welgedara & Fernando can do well if SL bowls first.

  • qpsk123 on December 14, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    Where is Dinesh Chandimal in this probable list.. When will he get a chance..

  • on December 14, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    good luck for the sri Lankan team.any way we need to get more fast bowlers in progress like Daminda Denesh/weerrarathna both from Ragama please have look at them they can be future this is only a few plenty more from village.thanks for the selectors put Tilan back on turf again also Chamara silva please give him a another chance let him to play his natural game may be first drop. not put him on so much pressure asking 5 down and need 200 to win the match on last day.

  • SLMaster on December 14, 2011, 21:28 GMT

    When is India vs Australia series going to commence? So that these Indian's commenting here the useless ... go hiding.

  • on December 14, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    good luck to SL i hope they put up a good fight as we all know they can... SA do not always have the killer insticnt...interesting series to come... @johnathonjosephs haha i wouldnt worry about the stats khiladisher says. they guy hasnt got a clue he uses the same cut and paste on pretty much all forums even when its not relevent... also the mini world cup im guessing he means champions trophy was shared with Lanka because it was abandoned twice...ciao

  • BravoBravo on December 14, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    @geminianrahul: Thanks for your comment, no offense taken. I dont mean to offend you or your progressive attitude. Lastly, everyone is entitled to their opinions whether it is you or me. @johnathonjoseph: Right on friend. One correction though IND was floating on #1 ICC ranking in Tests only for 18 months not 2 years. Well good luck SL. I hope SL will draw the test series with SA. It is challenging but not impossible.

  • JG2704 on December 14, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    Agree with SirvViv1973. This is no anti sub continent thing. I just feel that if SL lose a home series in their own conditions to Australia then how are they likely to do better in SA conditions. SA will I feel come back strong after losing their last match (a match they feel they should have won)

  • JG2704 on December 14, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    @SirViv1973 on (December 14 2011, 19:25 PM GMT) - me neither bud , but if they're happy seeing a 1-1 series draw as a taming or whatever , let them enjoy it.

  • on December 14, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    i dont think Thisara Perera should be in the team. Yes it is a fast track. but he is not a test bowler. Ajantha Mendis should replace him and Mathews should play all rounders roll. I saw Nuwan Kulasekara is fully fit now. he should play from 2nd test. Kula, Welagedara, Dilhara. that is a good combination.

  • SirViv1973 on December 14, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    @G.sri, I'm not a South African, but i'm not sure how a 1 all series draw last year constitutes India taming South Africa, had India had won the series I would have said fair comment.

  • honestno2 on December 14, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    Dilshan will score century......

  • SirViv1973 on December 14, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    Sorry SL I can only see a 3 nil series win for SAF here unless the weather has a say. In recent times the batting has been poor with only Sangakarra showing any sort of consistency. I don't think spin will be a big factor but Herath is no more than steady anyway and sadly the seamers cupboard is pretty bare. The one decent seamer in the squad is Fernando but his injury plagued past would suggest he has little chance of playing 3 tests in just over 3 weeks. At this point in time I think only Ban and Zim are weaker test sides than SL. It's such a shame Malinga's body couldn't stand up to test cricket SL could really do with him in a series like this.

  • fahadalam1 on December 14, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    i loved the way dilshan said: "If we can play our brand of cricket, we can beat any team in any conditions." this is awesome!! great confidence and bravery! kudos!!

  • geminianrahul on December 14, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @BravoBravo: I really pity u and ur mindset..i mean the way u think is really pathetic.. So, u want Indians to root for SLanka's victory so that SA doesnt go forward in rankings and India can take advantage of this and move ahead of them..Don't u think, this thinking of yours doesn't take you anywhere.. If you want to be ahead in rankings, do it by your own merit by winning matches and not by other's downfall..I am not sure which part of the world u r from but its a real pity to u n ur country and in the end it is mankind who is loosing dignity and bahaving more like an animal in this progressive world..Get a life..Looser..

    And I am not sure if Dhoni really meant it or not when he said that his team is not worried about Australia's form but rather focusing more on their own game, but really appreciate him for those comments..That is the mindset we should have to move forward in life..

  • on December 14, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    from PAKISTAN.SL will done better this time.i hope again SA will PANIC in this series like against NZ in 2011 WC.Important thing is to maintain presssure on SA .If SL will do this.they will definitely win the test or series as well.PAK and SL friendshp zindabad.

  • on December 14, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    If SL bat for 5 sessions can score 400+, Dilhara and welagdara will get the early breakthrough and get lead of 150+

    Sri Lanka will win the Match

  • johnathonjosephs on December 14, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    @khiladasher oh please, you make indian fans look bad. For one thing, India have won 2 World Cups.... in the span of 30 years. Lanka won 1 World Cup and in total made 3 Final appearances in only 15 years, while it has taken India 30 years to make 3 Finals appearances. On top of that, your "record 5 time winning Asia Cup" is a HUGE joke. Did you know that Sri Lanka has 4 wins? Did you also know that EVERY SINGLE ASIA CUP, SRI LANKA HAS MADE IT TO THE FINALS? India has made it 9/11 times, Pakistan 2/11 times, but Sri Lanka 11/11 times and thats including the pre-1990 era when Sri Lanka was a Bangladesh like side. And yes, India did have the Number 1 Test Ranking for 2 years because of home series (SL, NZ) and an away series in Bangladesh, and a drawn series in South Africa. Then they stepped into England and got whitewashed. Please get your facts straight.

  • BravoBravo on December 14, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    I hope that SL will perform at their best in SA. I am pretty sure that it will not be a whitewash. For IND fan who are anti-SL, think twice before wishing for SL loss. I dont care much about ICC ranking. But it is kind of ironic, if SL looses the series, IND will slip furtherdown on ICC ranking and will keep sliding down.

  • SLMaster on December 14, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    I think SL do well this time...every team has ups and downs. For the Indians, go figure what happened to them in England...

  • sehwaguparcut on December 14, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    This is an opportunity for Welegedara to do well. On the batting side Mahela will need to step up.

  • crickstats on December 14, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    @CricketMaan, Even I am perplexed being a Sri Lankan, but I like to think they want to play aggressively come what may, it is sort of a Windies type approach, and no media or ex-players should NOT condemn them for what they are doing, They all must say and agree, 'SRI LANKANS ARE PLAYING THE ONLY WAY THEY KNOW, THAT IS THEIR BRAND'

  • Advanced_Donkeys on December 14, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    kakka puka..this is going to be a real test!

  • khiladisher on December 14, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    @SINHAYA- - IM A PROUD INDIAN BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME ANTI-SRI LANKA- INDIA HAS WON 2 ONE DAY WORLD CUPS-1 20-20 WORLD CUP AND 1 MINI WORLD CUP IN 2002/THEY HAVE ALSO WON THE ASIA CUP A RECORD 5 TIMES-AND ALSO WON THE 7 MAJOR COUNTRIES- BENSON AND HEDGES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1985-INDIA ALSO WON A TRI-SERIES IN AUSTRALIA IN 2008 BEATING AUSTRALIA AND SRI LANKA-INDIA ALSO HAS MAINTAINED #1 RANK IN TEST MATCHES FROM 2009- AUGUST 2011- INDIA HAS ALSO WON 5 TEST MATCHES IN AUSTRALIA- 4 IN SRI LANKA- AND 2 IN SOUTH AFRICA. SRI LANKA IS YET TO WIN EVEN A SINGLE TEST MATCH IN INDIA-AUSTRALIA OR SOUTH AFRICA-SRI LANKA IS NOW A DAYS EVEN STRUGGLING TO WIN EVEN 1 MATCH AT HOME- SO FAR ITS 14 TEST MATCHES WITHOUT A WIN {UNLESS MURALI AND MALINGA BOWL THERE IS NO CHANCE OF A SRI LANKAN WIN-HOWEVER EVEN SOUTH AFRICA HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WIN AT HOME SINCE 2008,SO IF LANKANS PLAY WELL-GREAT.

  • 6pack on December 14, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Mr CricketMaan - SL's BRAND of cricket you ask? It's playing to their strengths. Opening with an aggressive Dilshan, consolidating with the stylish Sangakkara and Jayawardene, get a few from the middle order and possibly play two spinners - What have they got to lose? They're expected to be 'thrashed' within 2 days by most South African accounts I've read here over the past week... so that's the SL 'BRAND"... I hope that's clear?

  • on December 14, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    SL WIN THIS MACH /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

  • satanswish on December 14, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    @Sinhaya - Srilanka may have beaten all test playing nations but only on homesoil. Srilankans are still minnows when playing away. Looks like you have still not got over from WC Final defeat. LOL

  • CricketMaan on December 14, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    SL keep talking thier 'BRAND' of cricket..can somebody explain me what that is? Ive seem the coaches, captains, MJ, Kumar all say that..pardon my ignorace!! no pun intended.

  • Sinhaya on December 14, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Score aggressively boys! Silence these Indians who are ardently anti Lankan. Sri Lanka have beaten all test playing nations in test matches.

  • Advanced_Donkeys on December 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    no..SL cant win . I will bet my back.

  • Srini_Indian on December 14, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Last year, SA was tamed by mighty Indians in the fastest track in the world-Durban. But i am sure SA would whitewash the SL.

  • vallavarayar on December 14, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    I wonder what that sentence from Dilshan even means, "If we can play our brand of cricket, we can beat any team in any conditions". Is the brand something instantly recognisable like the Nikes and Adidas of this world? Nope, don't think so. Sri Lankan brand in test cricket for as long as I can remember has been if anything only Muralitharan's wide smile. Without him there is no Sri Lankan brand of cricket, unless of course Dilshan means that not beating SA is somehow equal to beating them.

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  • vallavarayar on December 14, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    I wonder what that sentence from Dilshan even means, "If we can play our brand of cricket, we can beat any team in any conditions". Is the brand something instantly recognisable like the Nikes and Adidas of this world? Nope, don't think so. Sri Lankan brand in test cricket for as long as I can remember has been if anything only Muralitharan's wide smile. Without him there is no Sri Lankan brand of cricket, unless of course Dilshan means that not beating SA is somehow equal to beating them.

  • Srini_Indian on December 14, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Last year, SA was tamed by mighty Indians in the fastest track in the world-Durban. But i am sure SA would whitewash the SL.

  • Advanced_Donkeys on December 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    no..SL cant win . I will bet my back.

  • Sinhaya on December 14, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Score aggressively boys! Silence these Indians who are ardently anti Lankan. Sri Lanka have beaten all test playing nations in test matches.

  • CricketMaan on December 14, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    SL keep talking thier 'BRAND' of cricket..can somebody explain me what that is? Ive seem the coaches, captains, MJ, Kumar all say that..pardon my ignorace!! no pun intended.

  • satanswish on December 14, 2011, 15:18 GMT

    @Sinhaya - Srilanka may have beaten all test playing nations but only on homesoil. Srilankans are still minnows when playing away. Looks like you have still not got over from WC Final defeat. LOL

  • on December 14, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    SL WIN THIS MACH /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

  • 6pack on December 14, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Mr CricketMaan - SL's BRAND of cricket you ask? It's playing to their strengths. Opening with an aggressive Dilshan, consolidating with the stylish Sangakkara and Jayawardene, get a few from the middle order and possibly play two spinners - What have they got to lose? They're expected to be 'thrashed' within 2 days by most South African accounts I've read here over the past week... so that's the SL 'BRAND"... I hope that's clear?

  • khiladisher on December 14, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    @SINHAYA- - IM A PROUD INDIAN BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME ANTI-SRI LANKA- INDIA HAS WON 2 ONE DAY WORLD CUPS-1 20-20 WORLD CUP AND 1 MINI WORLD CUP IN 2002/THEY HAVE ALSO WON THE ASIA CUP A RECORD 5 TIMES-AND ALSO WON THE 7 MAJOR COUNTRIES- BENSON AND HEDGES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1985-INDIA ALSO WON A TRI-SERIES IN AUSTRALIA IN 2008 BEATING AUSTRALIA AND SRI LANKA-INDIA ALSO HAS MAINTAINED #1 RANK IN TEST MATCHES FROM 2009- AUGUST 2011- INDIA HAS ALSO WON 5 TEST MATCHES IN AUSTRALIA- 4 IN SRI LANKA- AND 2 IN SOUTH AFRICA. SRI LANKA IS YET TO WIN EVEN A SINGLE TEST MATCH IN INDIA-AUSTRALIA OR SOUTH AFRICA-SRI LANKA IS NOW A DAYS EVEN STRUGGLING TO WIN EVEN 1 MATCH AT HOME- SO FAR ITS 14 TEST MATCHES WITHOUT A WIN {UNLESS MURALI AND MALINGA BOWL THERE IS NO CHANCE OF A SRI LANKAN WIN-HOWEVER EVEN SOUTH AFRICA HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WIN AT HOME SINCE 2008,SO IF LANKANS PLAY WELL-GREAT.

  • Advanced_Donkeys on December 14, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    kakka puka..this is going to be a real test!