Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd Test, Colombo July 23, 2014

SL seek turnaround on sleepy SSC pitch

65

Match facts

July 24-28, 2014
Start time 1000 local (0430 GMT)

Play 02:28
'No. 1 ranking very important to South Africa'

Big Picture

Things that have been more lively than the SSC Test pitches in recent years: the planet Mars, the SLPL's twitter account and the third floor of London's Langham Hotel in the dead of night.

The last three Tests there have been draws. But with Sri Lanka requiring a win there to level the series, perhaps the groundstaff have produced a surface more akin to what first-class teams regularly encounter at SSC. There can be a little help for the seamers early on at the venue, but Sri Lanka will hope for plenty of turn as well, which occasionally does occur.

Whatever the surface is like, Sri Lanka know South Africa have already brought them down to earth, after their excellent five months between January and July. The hosts comfortably lost an ODI series they were expected to win. Then when they went to Galle, looking for victory, they came back with a big defeat. That loss has placed a microscope firmly on Sri Lanka's misfiring middle order, which will see at least one change on Thursday.

South Africa have, in contrast, appeared settled and at ease in Sri Lanka, both on and off the field. The reserves have been for light jogs around Galle. Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers have had their hair clipped at a roadside barber. The views around the Kandy hills even prompted an unusually sensitive appreciation for nature, from Dale Steyn.

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, none of this has prevented the visitors from being ruthless at the cricket. Steyn and Morkel accounted for 16 wickets in Galle, striking with raw pace and bounce as much as through reverse-swing. South Africa's batsmen have also resisted spin much better than they did in an ODI series last year - having been particularly effective against Rangana Herath in the first Test.

A series victory of any description will see South Africa reclaim their top ranking. Sri Lanka will have to play substantially better than at Galle to prevent that outcome.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LWDDW
South Africa:WLWLW

In the spotlight

There are murmurings Mahela Jayawardene's farewell Test against Pakistan in August could be moved to SSC, instead of the P Sara Oval, but barring intervention, this will be Jayawardene's last match at his home ground. His 2698 runs at the SSC are more than anyone has scored at any single venue, and he averages 77.08 there, after 25 Tests. Jayawardene has not been in excellent touch over the last two months, even if he found ways of making runs in England. But if there was one pitch that should see him return to his best before the swansong, this is it. Last time South Africa bowled to him here, they were chasing leather off his blade for 12-and-a-half hours.

Outdone by Dale Steyn, as almost everybody always is, Morne Morkel nevertheless ran in with intent and prised seven wickets out of a Galle pitch that did not appear to suit his talents. His extra bounce created problems for Kumar Sangakkara in both innings (and he should have had him out twice too, had Quinton de Kock not dropped Sangakkara in the second dig), and the angles he bowled to Sri Lanka's indisciplined batsmen were often impeccable. If the SSC surface is as flat as it often is, Morkel's height may have him well-placed to launch an expedition to find signs of life on the pitch.

Teams news

In the most left-field selection move Sri Lanka has made in some time, wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella has been flown in from England. Angelo Mathews said Chandimal was still in the mix, despite what SLC had said on Tuesday, but it appears Dickwella is likely to play. Sri Lanka may also consider playing Kithuruwan Vithanage in place of Lahiru Thirimanne. Shaminda Eranga has also been ruled out through injury, so Sri Lanka will make at least two changes to the XI. Dhammika Prasad, who also plays for SSC in first-class cricket, is the frontrunner to replace Eranga.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Kaushal Silva, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 8 Dilruwan Perera, 9 Dhammika Prasad, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Suranga Lakmal

The only addition to the South Africa camp has been Gary Kirsten's arrival, as part of his role as a team consultant. South Africa may not want to make significant changes to their winning combination, but Vernon Philander's place seems under some threat, after he went wicketless in Galle.

South Africa (probable): 1 Alviro Peterson, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 Hashim Amla (capt.), 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 JP Duminy, 8 Vernon Philander/ Wayne Parnell, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

Pitch and conditions

It can rain in Colombo at this time of year, but the showers often arrive late in the evening, when the cricket is already wrapping up for the day. Overnight rain does not often affect the cricket in Sri Lanka, where the entire ground is kept under covers.


Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have not lost a match at SSC since March 2004, against Australia
  • After Galle, Steyn now has two five-wicket hauls in the three matches he has played in Sri Lanka. His first five-for in the subcontinent came at the P Sara Oval in 2006
  • Morne Morkel needs four wickets to reach 200 Test scalps

    Quotes

    "We will go all out to try and win this Test. If we lose 2-0 it doesn't matter, as long as we play well.
    Angelo Mathews

    "Test cricket is a challenging place. I'm sure he will come good. It just takes a few good performances. He is one of the most highly skilled legspinners in the world."
    Hashim Amla hinted strongly that South Africa are willing to give Imran Tahir a few more chances

    Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ZainE111 on July 23, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Two points. 1) Philander should not be dropped. You need someone like him to consistently get the right lines and lengths. This puts the batsmen under pressure and forces them to try and make runs off the other (more aggressive) bowlers. Remember Philander did hit the stumps in the first test - the bail just didn't fall! That being said, Parnell does add useful left-arm variation. It's a tough call but I'm leaning slightly towards Vernon.

    2) Tahir is a "skillful" legspinner. He can bowl the googly as well as anyone and can vary his pace and flight quite well. He's just not "consistent" enough. Way too many full tosses in the first test.

  • on July 24, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Good decision to keep out of form batsmen in the bench. SSC pitch is not sleepy if you bowl accurately in the first session as it is quite lively. Hopefully SL will come up with a more professional and committed performance this time around.

  • Samare12 on July 24, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    I think SL lost the one day series mainly because they lost the toss in both matches. Same happened with the first test. Lets see what happens at SSC

  • Lalith1962 on July 24, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    SL must field well If they have any desire to win!. Tail end should consider themselves as batsmen when they are at the crease. No need of a VC until a potential player is mature enough to wear that hat. Give Taranga all the support he needs. Lahiru needs to understand is role in the team. Senior players need to stay at the crease long enough when playing TEST matches. SL, need to stay focused on the game until the match is over, celebrate later!

  • John_Geo on July 24, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    I agree with the comment posted earlier that Sri Lanka is surely destined to lose this match. Not because they cannot counter SA but because of their biased selection approach. If Mahela plays, Sri Lanka's demise is certain. He, in his present state cannot face this SA attack and the middle order that that is already feeble going to get from worse to hopeless with his inclusion. PLEASE replace Mahela before he does further damage and try out some fresh blood. At least that will be an investment for the future.

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    Winning the toss seems to be playing a substantial part in the ongoing series. Though SA had been definitely playing with more professionalism, winning the toss had added to their advantage. SL is not as second as it seems by the results, if the luck of the toss turns around I feel SL will win.

  • SLSup on July 24, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Marcel_Ci: And you say this about Mahela and SL after having looked at every Test ever played at SSC or just cos it felt good to say so?

    AJS007: Haha. Quite funny even if somewhat silly.

    Ashokdmightyindian: SL is the worse batting line-up while IND is the best? Hillarious! Hope you were on your feet when you wrote that cos there is no such thing called 'sit-down comedy'. But, then, you also said Philander is the worse bowler in modern era. To your credit, your comedy is universal!

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    these days are wretched days for the sri lankans,surely they will lose this test also,fiirst they will loose the toss and SA will bat first and score 600 runs and afterwards the typical sri lankan batting collapses will happen,all too predictable and boring,and not worth the time waste to watch the match..

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    if a 2 - 0 win for SA, it matters the test rankings of SL. So SL must consolidate the position first and then try to win if there is a possibility. Otherwise, try to draw the game if not in a position to win. It is also a win to some extent that we can relish.

    SL bowlers must be ordered to support the recognized batsmen when they bat and avoid throwing away their wickets as the last test.

    Thirimanne must be dropped and Chandimal must be punished by dropping for being reckless.

  • Sexysteven on July 24, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Sounds like another boring slow and low wicket as usual world wide these days let's hope it has something in it for the bowlers prob the spinners maybe abit of reverse swing hopefully it happens without help from philander thirimanne should count himself so so lucky if he plays he's in as bad form as chandimal and his career stats are far worst then chandimals and thirimanne I'd the one they decide to that seems crazy to me they both deserved to be dropped if you ask me

  • ZainE111 on July 23, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Two points. 1) Philander should not be dropped. You need someone like him to consistently get the right lines and lengths. This puts the batsmen under pressure and forces them to try and make runs off the other (more aggressive) bowlers. Remember Philander did hit the stumps in the first test - the bail just didn't fall! That being said, Parnell does add useful left-arm variation. It's a tough call but I'm leaning slightly towards Vernon.

    2) Tahir is a "skillful" legspinner. He can bowl the googly as well as anyone and can vary his pace and flight quite well. He's just not "consistent" enough. Way too many full tosses in the first test.

  • on July 24, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Good decision to keep out of form batsmen in the bench. SSC pitch is not sleepy if you bowl accurately in the first session as it is quite lively. Hopefully SL will come up with a more professional and committed performance this time around.

  • Samare12 on July 24, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    I think SL lost the one day series mainly because they lost the toss in both matches. Same happened with the first test. Lets see what happens at SSC

  • Lalith1962 on July 24, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    SL must field well If they have any desire to win!. Tail end should consider themselves as batsmen when they are at the crease. No need of a VC until a potential player is mature enough to wear that hat. Give Taranga all the support he needs. Lahiru needs to understand is role in the team. Senior players need to stay at the crease long enough when playing TEST matches. SL, need to stay focused on the game until the match is over, celebrate later!

  • John_Geo on July 24, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    I agree with the comment posted earlier that Sri Lanka is surely destined to lose this match. Not because they cannot counter SA but because of their biased selection approach. If Mahela plays, Sri Lanka's demise is certain. He, in his present state cannot face this SA attack and the middle order that that is already feeble going to get from worse to hopeless with his inclusion. PLEASE replace Mahela before he does further damage and try out some fresh blood. At least that will be an investment for the future.

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    Winning the toss seems to be playing a substantial part in the ongoing series. Though SA had been definitely playing with more professionalism, winning the toss had added to their advantage. SL is not as second as it seems by the results, if the luck of the toss turns around I feel SL will win.

  • SLSup on July 24, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Marcel_Ci: And you say this about Mahela and SL after having looked at every Test ever played at SSC or just cos it felt good to say so?

    AJS007: Haha. Quite funny even if somewhat silly.

    Ashokdmightyindian: SL is the worse batting line-up while IND is the best? Hillarious! Hope you were on your feet when you wrote that cos there is no such thing called 'sit-down comedy'. But, then, you also said Philander is the worse bowler in modern era. To your credit, your comedy is universal!

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    these days are wretched days for the sri lankans,surely they will lose this test also,fiirst they will loose the toss and SA will bat first and score 600 runs and afterwards the typical sri lankan batting collapses will happen,all too predictable and boring,and not worth the time waste to watch the match..

  • on July 24, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    if a 2 - 0 win for SA, it matters the test rankings of SL. So SL must consolidate the position first and then try to win if there is a possibility. Otherwise, try to draw the game if not in a position to win. It is also a win to some extent that we can relish.

    SL bowlers must be ordered to support the recognized batsmen when they bat and avoid throwing away their wickets as the last test.

    Thirimanne must be dropped and Chandimal must be punished by dropping for being reckless.

  • Sexysteven on July 24, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Sounds like another boring slow and low wicket as usual world wide these days let's hope it has something in it for the bowlers prob the spinners maybe abit of reverse swing hopefully it happens without help from philander thirimanne should count himself so so lucky if he plays he's in as bad form as chandimal and his career stats are far worst then chandimals and thirimanne I'd the one they decide to that seems crazy to me they both deserved to be dropped if you ask me

  • Petershi on July 24, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    Sri Lanka made a Blunder by not playing a winning team in the ODIs and SA winning the ODI series gave them confidence in the TEST match . Omitting players like Thisara in the ODI's (with no 20/20 in this tour) was the worst mistake , Also all tours of any teams play atleast one or two 20/20s ,, Suprise no 20/20 matches in this tour.. Any reason??? can anyone answer this question?

  • on July 24, 2014, 0:40 GMT

    dilruwan cannot be a front line strike bowler despite somenof the wickets. he is jadeja type of bowler. SL Should bring back mendis

  • BustIPL on July 23, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    SA have proved that they are dominating the world of test cricket. Winning against very very confident and promising SL team who just recently beat england however marginally. SA were great at home almost chasing 450 in the first test despite the fact that it was against indian side. SA are the only side who can beat india in india like england did in the last tour. And not to forget merciless attack by styen and morkel against SL.

  • on July 23, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    SA has been number one team in tests, but somehow they don't look like number one. For example WI and Aus in their prime time of being number one, all the other teams literally use to fear playing them. That sort of domination was missing from SA till date. SA may now change that too with the more aggressive batsman and bowlers in the team. SA previously was number one team purely because of their consistency in not losing the matches and were satisfied with a draw rather than taking an extra risk for win.

    I would like to see SA dominating the cricketing world for sometime from here with a dashing way rather than safety first approach, as most of the other teams are in transition including India, which is just a little bit ahead of other teams in transition.

    Good Luck SA

  • glitzers on July 23, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    My prediction for the Match is that for the first three days of the test match the pendulum will kept swinging towards a result chnace (In Srilanka's Favour), but due to interruption in play for the 4th and 5th day due to showers around, it would be a draw, and the series will be won by the proteas 1-0..

  • on July 23, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    Please send Thirimanee ahead of Mahela

  • MrGarreth on July 23, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    @st00rt 1-0 or 2-0 will get SA to the number 1 ranking.

  • on July 23, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    SA is a n:1 team.their spin attack is better than previous tours. SL must consider their filding and batting.i think Chandimal should be in the team if Thirimanna is there.

  • on July 23, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    To ICC: We need to see more Test Matches involving Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, and New Zealand ( My "MOST IMPROVED" team over the past year). It is evident that politics is the sole factor that is depriving these teams from playing more Tests. Look at how competitive the recent NZ-WI series was, the current SL-SA series, and almost every Pakistan match. I am eagerly waiting for this Test match (2nd ) to start. Thank You Cricinfo.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 23, 2014, 15:49 GMT

    Who knows - maybe this will be the game where Imran Tahir picks up a 10-fer, and Steyn/Morkel/Philander struggle.

  • Kinguru007. on July 23, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    It's going to be a tuff job for the Lankan's to beat the SA. Even SSC prepares a dust puff turning pitch it's really hard for my boys to turn things around the way SA is playing. So far SA played as a team, they hunt as a pack. That's what brings them so much success. But for the Lankan's it's bit different. I hope the lions gona come up with some sort of a plan to over come the 2nd test and win it.

  • slazenger on July 23, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    In my rankings Aussie is #1 and SA is #2 and I think most of the people agree with that in respect to test cricket. I like the fighting spirit of Aussie but when it comes players SA are more friendly nice players.

  • on July 23, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    SA hasn't been an easy team to play with specially when it comes to test arena. But SL has enough talent.. Youngsters have been yet to perform well in this series in which seniors like Sanga, Tharanga n Matthews has been on top form except Mahela's failure. This is the best opportunity Mahela would get, if he wanna see his rhythm back. Definitely he will bounce back- he has got enough confidence. I prefer, Welagedara's arrival to the playing 11 can make a significant difference to SL pace attack. SL can win this game, if they reduce their mistakes which they did at Galle.

  • on July 23, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Like Chandimal ,Thirimanne shod be out of the team if we are to win the next test. He doesn't have the spirits of sanga or mahela( although mahela is not in touch at this moment). No one else has given this much of chances. Not fare by the other good players as well as the Sri Lankan team

  • on July 23, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    I think Thirimanne should be dropped as he hasn't perform up to the expectations as Chandimal. He always a pressure to the non striker since he doesn't score many even in test cricket. He is blocking the place for lot of young talented players. What has really happen to Prasanna jayawardane, a class cricketer. Is this all politics. Pl. think about the team and the country before anything. Thirimanne should take a break and correct his techniques and build up the confidence before playing for the country again. He may be a class cricketer for he future. But he needs some time off at this moment.

  • on July 23, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    i suppose SA can win this series 2-0 easily considering the current crisis in the SL team,that will make them hyped more than ever,and they will go to the world cup as overrated as usual and as usual they will choke in a crunch game and go home crying..

  • on July 23, 2014, 15:00 GMT

    Team should be and batting order as follows.1.Elgar 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.AB 5.Faf 6.Qdk 7.JP 8.Steyn 9.Morkel 10.Abbott 11.Piedt. JP at 7 to give Qdk freedom to play with knowing that JP can scope runs with the tail.Abbott in for just this Test, he was more speed and has more control the Parnell.JP's stats as a spinner beter then Tahir,that is why I will replace Tahir with Piedt.He has out bowled al the SA spinners last season including Tahir.Time for the youngster.but we will see the same team

  • Amol_Gh on July 23, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    @Theron: I agree. I too think AUS beating SA in the last gone series was just a blip on the SA's glorious run till now. But for me, as an SA-fan, SA losing the home series in 2008 was a major dampener and not winning the series in 2011, both against AUS, was a major disappointment. But I believe SA, first of all will put things correct by not losing this second match vs SRL and then again put on consistent performances to show on who the real number one is. AUS won't be able to sustain much after that in the long run for the fight for Numero-Uno position.

  • ZainE111 on July 23, 2014, 14:46 GMT

    @SLslider - I fully agree with you - SA is indeed "all hype".

    SA currently has the number 1 rated bowler in the world; the number 1 rated batsman in the world; and - you guessed it - the number 1 rated all-rounder in the world. The last time they lost a series away was in 2006 (and that record will only be broken this year if BAN or ZIM beats them). They have held the number 1 team ranking since 2012 and lost it by a fraction of a point a month ago. All they need is a draw in the next game to reclaim their number 1 spot.

    All of this they've achieved despite playing FAR LESS CRICKET than the so called "big 3".

    BUT - all of that is just hype.

  • on July 23, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    @St00rt - A 2-0 result was originally required, until SL beat England. Their rise in the ranking meant that a 1-0 win by SA would give them enough ranking points to go above Aus.

    In my humble opinion, this blip in SA dropping below Aus was anyway a statistical flop. I know Aus beat SA in SA, but let's see if it continues. The rise of Aus that is. I think in most people's minds SA has remained the top side still in tests.

  • on July 23, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    Yes @SLslider. SA is overhyped.

    Last time they lost away was against Sri Lanka... in 2006 Since then they have beaten Aus 2x away, England away and others At home since 2006 they have lost 2x to Aus. Apart from that they have lost nothing.

    But OK, you must be correct. The stats are with you

  • pasindudil on July 23, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    Drop chandimal and give a chance to Kithruwan. Nirshan dikwella is too before for stat international cricket. Kaushal can keep and thirimanne can open the batting.

  • Amol_Gh on July 23, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    i don't ever remember Sri-Lanka get into even the Top Three ranked Test teams...not even during the days of Murali...Does anybody ? If anyone can put light on this one, the stat could be interesting.

  • MrGarreth on July 23, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    @st00rt 1-0 or 2-0 will get SA to the number 1 ranking.

  • LAKINGSFAN on July 23, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    SLslider@ Because the other teams are not bits and pieces like SL.

  • SLslider on July 23, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Steyn must be saying please play philander or else how will Steyn will pick wickets.

  • SLslider on July 23, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    I don't know what SL is doing making this ordinary team look so much better than it already is. SA is all hype, they were thrashed by AUS who were thrashed by IND, Ind is the weakest team. SL players wake up. If Sl plays at its potential am innings thrashing is on the cards for SA.

  • RapidCommentsPlz on July 23, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    Philander is the wost bowler in the modern era. Yes he his sucessful on bouncy tracks but you font deserve to be in top 3 if you cant even pick a single wicket here on the SC tracks h that too against the world's worst batting line up. The worst part? He couldnt even trouble the batsmen. And believe me , I always knew that he wont be able to perform here neither can Johnson. It required a great skill which in the modern era only Steyn, Morkel n parnell can do. Thanks to vast experienced in IPL. But a skill is skill.IPL only gives you experience and nothing else. Imran Tahir is another bowler who I wonder how in the world reserved his place after getting thrashed by the worlds best batting line up,India at their own backyard. Nevertheless SA doesnt need Philander. Start looking for bowler who can take wickets everywhere and not only on bouncy tracks

  • St00rt on July 23, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    I hope that this test isn't decided at the toss. It disappoints me when matches are no longer decided between bat and ball, but rather between heads or tails.

    Cricinfo, please clarify one thing. You said that SA had to just win the series to go back to number 1 in the world but I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that they had to actually win the series 2 - 0 for this to happen.

  • on July 23, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Dean elgar looks good, hope he does well

  • cad76 on July 23, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Peterson is the only weak link in SA team.

  • on July 23, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    Debatable even bringing up The Vern's name here... the VERY BEST cricketers in the world through history have had lean periods. They remain world class and bounce back with a bang. Steyn himself just recently was not taking wickets. No one spoke about dropping him.

  • Andre117 on July 23, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    It will not be fair to keep Philander in and to keep Dane Piedt out. Tahir was absolutely toothless on the most spin-friendly pitch on the planet. He was outdone by part-timer JP. I think he has had enough time to prove himself and must become an ODI/T20 specialist. Dane Piedt in for Philander or Tahir or Piedt and Parnell in for both.

  • Hareendra on July 23, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    What is Thirimanne doing in the team? At least Chandimal was keeping wicket. Thirimanne is doing nothing. Please give someone else a chance.

  • Basil777 on July 23, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    Love this SA team ; I don't feel like I need to depend on 1 batsman or 1 bowler to perform; to me this team is so diverse in skill-set; it matter little who performs so long we get the results

  • Amol_Gh on July 23, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Philander ?? Absolutely No. I expect Tahir to be replaced by another paceman or Piedt.

  • BellCurve on July 23, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    Mahela averages 49.80 in Test cricket. If you exclude the SSC, his average drops to 45.07. If you exclude the SSC, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, then his average drops to 42.58. His ODI stats are even worse. That is why he is not taken seriously by students of the game.

  • Kratos3 on July 23, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    It will be not fair to drop Phillander or Tahir , our team is balanced. Go SA

  • SurlyCynic on July 23, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    Hope Amla goes back to #3 soon, with AB at 4. Faf at 5 can either attack or drop anchor depending on the situation, then Duminy and De Kock to finish off. If Piedt takes over from Tahir at some point this becomes quite a fearsome batting lineup.

  • Jeyad on July 23, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    I think Philander bowled really well in the last match, beating the bat on several occasions. It's premature to speak about dropping him.

  • on July 23, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    Come on SA, pick another spinner, please!

  • SripriyaReddy on July 23, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    I support Amla's statement. Tahir should definitely be given another chance, not to forget that he did bowl out Mathews in the 1st innings when he was on 89, though he went wicket less in his next innings. As for Philander, he should make his way out for Parnell. Going with what the pitch sounds to be, the captain winning the toss will most probably field first.

  • on July 23, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    Drop Mahela and Thirimanna.Send Mathews early followed by Herath.Have common sense and guts to experiment SL has nothing to lose, already in the doldrums. It looks as if this would be a forced farewell to Mahela, if he does not come up with some performance. Such long string of failures is not acceptable from either Mahela or Thirimanna.

  • on July 23, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    I think philander isn't that kinda bowler whose position in the team should be at threat especially in this condition when South Africa is leading the series. I think SA need to change their batting order not the team.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 23, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    I reckon this will be Mahela's last Test match, he will bring his retirement forward.

    Lankan Groundsman will spice up this pitch i reckon. We cant have another one like Galle otherwise, if SA win the toss and bat then they will probably secure the draw and win the series. Sri Lanka will come out guns blazing, they are a proud cricketing nation and losing at home would have struck a few cords. Game On.

  • on July 23, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    chandimal should be in the XI

  • Nuxxy on July 23, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    If it's a spinning wicket I would rather see Piedt come in for Philander.

  • AJS007 on July 23, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    IInd TEST SCORE CARD: SL 1st Innings 500/0 declared V.Tharanga 299 n.o. Silva 199 n.o. M.Morkel 0/399 D.Steyn 0/99 - SA 1st Innings 199 all out I.Tahir 99 n.o. M.Morkel 99 - R.Herath 9/99, N.Pradeep 1/99, SA IInd Innings 299 all out - D.Steyn 199 n.o. I.Tahir 99 - R.Herath 1/199 Perera 9/99 - SL won by an innings and 2 runs

  • Thuram3 on July 23, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Laughable to think that Philander's place could be under threat when he has been so successful and gives Amla more control than our spinners...

  • Marcel_Ci on July 23, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    a perfect pitch where god mahela can amass a hug runs, SL wil bat for 2-3 days & it will end in a dull draw & SL fans shall claim that mahela is greatest ever produced by SL.

  • pjt100585 on July 23, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    "He is one of the most highly skilled legspinners in the world." Hash being somewhat delusional there I feel.

  • dunger.bob on July 23, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    Good luck to both teams and we all want to see a good, clean but hard as nails fight to the finish. .. as an Aussie, considering what's at stake, I hope you can forgive me if I say "Go Sri Lanka, go you good things".

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 23, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    Yip. Looks like Tahir will be getting another chance. Parnell should come in for Phillander though.

  • on July 23, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    The presence of Dickwella will also put pressure on Tharanga. Given Dickwella is an opener, a poor performance from Tharanga might see him vacate his place for Dickwella. However there has been an abounding clique of wicket keeper batsmen in the sidelines which doesn't bode well for Sri Lanka, since it affects the balance of the side. The team fielding first should try to get early wickets in the first session. Failure to do so will result in having to trail a large total. Saffa pacemen will be a threat if Sri Lanka bat first.

  • on July 23, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Chandimal should play in this match as a last chance. If the selectors want Dickwella to play, Thirimanne should be the one being dropped from the XI.

  • on July 23, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Chandimal should play in this match as a last chance. If the selectors want Dickwella to play, Thirimanne should be the one being dropped from the XI.

  • on July 23, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    The presence of Dickwella will also put pressure on Tharanga. Given Dickwella is an opener, a poor performance from Tharanga might see him vacate his place for Dickwella. However there has been an abounding clique of wicket keeper batsmen in the sidelines which doesn't bode well for Sri Lanka, since it affects the balance of the side. The team fielding first should try to get early wickets in the first session. Failure to do so will result in having to trail a large total. Saffa pacemen will be a threat if Sri Lanka bat first.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 23, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    Yip. Looks like Tahir will be getting another chance. Parnell should come in for Phillander though.

  • dunger.bob on July 23, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    Good luck to both teams and we all want to see a good, clean but hard as nails fight to the finish. .. as an Aussie, considering what's at stake, I hope you can forgive me if I say "Go Sri Lanka, go you good things".

  • pjt100585 on July 23, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    "He is one of the most highly skilled legspinners in the world." Hash being somewhat delusional there I feel.

  • Marcel_Ci on July 23, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    a perfect pitch where god mahela can amass a hug runs, SL wil bat for 2-3 days & it will end in a dull draw & SL fans shall claim that mahela is greatest ever produced by SL.

  • Thuram3 on July 23, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    Laughable to think that Philander's place could be under threat when he has been so successful and gives Amla more control than our spinners...

  • AJS007 on July 23, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    IInd TEST SCORE CARD: SL 1st Innings 500/0 declared V.Tharanga 299 n.o. Silva 199 n.o. M.Morkel 0/399 D.Steyn 0/99 - SA 1st Innings 199 all out I.Tahir 99 n.o. M.Morkel 99 - R.Herath 9/99, N.Pradeep 1/99, SA IInd Innings 299 all out - D.Steyn 199 n.o. I.Tahir 99 - R.Herath 1/199 Perera 9/99 - SL won by an innings and 2 runs

  • Nuxxy on July 23, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    If it's a spinning wicket I would rather see Piedt come in for Philander.

  • on July 23, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    chandimal should be in the XI