Sri Lanka news February 24, 2014

CSA confirms two-Test tour to Sri Lanka

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CSA and SLC have brought South Africa's postponed Test tour of Sri Lanka forward by one year, but replaced one Test with ODIs. South Africa will play two Tests and three ODIs in Sri Lanka in July, a CSA release confirmed, but the original schedule had specified three Tests, in addition to the five ODIs and three Twenty20s that have already been played last year.

SLC had requested the Tests be moved to 2015, ostensibly to vacate the schedule for a Sri Lanka Premier League, but space in both teams' schedule in July has allowed a change of plans. The release said the two-match Test series would be "fulfilling the series against Sri Lanka, which was postponed last year".

No dates have yet been set for the matches, but the advancement of the tour breaks up Sri Lanka's lengthy stretch without a home Test; the last home Test they played was in March 2013. The only incoming tour in their 2014 schedule had been a limited-overs series against England in November.

The advancement also enables a final tilt at the top-ranked Test team for Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The pair had been instrumental in Sri Lanka's 2-0 victory over South Africa in their most-recent tour of the island in 2006, which is also the last series South Africa had lost away from home.

Sangakkara had been particularly irked by the postponement of last year's Tests, suggesting it had been a lost opportunity for his team, because South Africa have struggled in Sri Lankan conditions.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Poholiyadda on February 26, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka cricket should also try to get two tests in to the England tour schedule in November, as playing another useless ODI tournament with Bangladesh in October will do no good for the retiring greats.

  • Lion83 on February 25, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    It will be a great series with No 1 test team taking on SL in SL conditions love to see Steyn, Philander and morkel against SL top order.

  • asiacricket1234 on February 25, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Why 2 test??? I dont understand why top teams like SA will only play 2 test against another top team? This should have been a 3 test series.

  • Sinhabahu on February 25, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    Some good news. In an ideal world, this tour would have 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and maybe 2 or 3 T20s. But this is better than nothing.

  • on February 25, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    I really cannot understand why is South Africa always playing a 2 test series... I cannot remember, other than the present Australia series, when was the last time they played a full 3 test or 4 test series... Lesser teams are playing 4 and 5 test tournaments and its high time that the world number 1 team is shown some respect and given a lot more test matches. Perhaps a 5 test series the next time they travel to India would be an ideal thing both, for them and for us. Imagine watching Steyn, Morkel and Co. running into the Indian batting for 5 test matches scheduled at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. it would be more worthy than anything else. Plus they do have the capacity to draw in decent crowds. I believe the fault lies with CSA as they have not been able to convince the other test playing nations to come in for a full tour. Though the Indian fiasco was not their doing, I feel the whole situation could have been handled with bit of common sense and responsibility.

  • nickexplore on February 25, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    In August 2004 Sri Lanka won a 2-match test series against South Africa 1-0. The 1st test at Galle was a draw : Mahela scored 237 and Sanga 58, Shaun Pollock took 4/48. The 2nd test at SSC in Colombo was won by SL by a massive 313 runs. Sanga scored 232 and Mahela 82, Pollock again with 4/81. Ten years on, and the prospect of watching Sangakkara (58.07) and Mahela (50.30) against the formidable Vernon Philander (18.87) and Dale Steyn (22.89).in July 2014. Forget the 3 one-dayers, its the 2 tests we are waiting to see!

  • on February 25, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    We want another test as SL can play with the best team under our conditions. The tour must be started with the test series

  • nickexplore on February 25, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    When South Africa toured Sri Lanka in July 2013 for a 5-match ODI series (won 4-1 by Sri Lanka) and 3-match T20 (won 2-1 by South Africa), the Premadasa (Colombo) and Pallekele (Kandy) grounds were jam-packed , hence the decision to play 3 ODIs in July 2014. As for the 2 tests, it will be a sterner proposition for Sanga and Mahela facing Philander and Steyn this time round. SAs attack in 2013 was led by Morkel, McLaren and Tsotsobe. Sri Lanka and South Africa played a drawn test match at Galle in 2004. It would be nice to see a rematch at this picturesque seaside ground in July 2014.

  • blunderbus on February 24, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    This two test concept is just not satisfactory and should be abolished. It's not too different from playing a two set tennis match, which would be ludicrous. It should be three tests minimum, four for series between top ranked teams and 5 for special occasions (e.g. when teams ranked 1 & 2 play each other. Even 5 Ashes games have recently become excessive given their frequency).

  • on February 24, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    High probability of getting most of the games washed away due to monsoon rain...BETTER TO GET THE WEATHER FORECAST FROM BBC. January, February & March are the driest months in Sri Lanka. But still no matches during these dry seasons...Long live SLC... :) ..Poor administrators

  • Poholiyadda on February 26, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka cricket should also try to get two tests in to the England tour schedule in November, as playing another useless ODI tournament with Bangladesh in October will do no good for the retiring greats.

  • Lion83 on February 25, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    It will be a great series with No 1 test team taking on SL in SL conditions love to see Steyn, Philander and morkel against SL top order.

  • asiacricket1234 on February 25, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Why 2 test??? I dont understand why top teams like SA will only play 2 test against another top team? This should have been a 3 test series.

  • Sinhabahu on February 25, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    Some good news. In an ideal world, this tour would have 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and maybe 2 or 3 T20s. But this is better than nothing.

  • on February 25, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    I really cannot understand why is South Africa always playing a 2 test series... I cannot remember, other than the present Australia series, when was the last time they played a full 3 test or 4 test series... Lesser teams are playing 4 and 5 test tournaments and its high time that the world number 1 team is shown some respect and given a lot more test matches. Perhaps a 5 test series the next time they travel to India would be an ideal thing both, for them and for us. Imagine watching Steyn, Morkel and Co. running into the Indian batting for 5 test matches scheduled at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. it would be more worthy than anything else. Plus they do have the capacity to draw in decent crowds. I believe the fault lies with CSA as they have not been able to convince the other test playing nations to come in for a full tour. Though the Indian fiasco was not their doing, I feel the whole situation could have been handled with bit of common sense and responsibility.

  • nickexplore on February 25, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    In August 2004 Sri Lanka won a 2-match test series against South Africa 1-0. The 1st test at Galle was a draw : Mahela scored 237 and Sanga 58, Shaun Pollock took 4/48. The 2nd test at SSC in Colombo was won by SL by a massive 313 runs. Sanga scored 232 and Mahela 82, Pollock again with 4/81. Ten years on, and the prospect of watching Sangakkara (58.07) and Mahela (50.30) against the formidable Vernon Philander (18.87) and Dale Steyn (22.89).in July 2014. Forget the 3 one-dayers, its the 2 tests we are waiting to see!

  • on February 25, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    We want another test as SL can play with the best team under our conditions. The tour must be started with the test series

  • nickexplore on February 25, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    When South Africa toured Sri Lanka in July 2013 for a 5-match ODI series (won 4-1 by Sri Lanka) and 3-match T20 (won 2-1 by South Africa), the Premadasa (Colombo) and Pallekele (Kandy) grounds were jam-packed , hence the decision to play 3 ODIs in July 2014. As for the 2 tests, it will be a sterner proposition for Sanga and Mahela facing Philander and Steyn this time round. SAs attack in 2013 was led by Morkel, McLaren and Tsotsobe. Sri Lanka and South Africa played a drawn test match at Galle in 2004. It would be nice to see a rematch at this picturesque seaside ground in July 2014.

  • blunderbus on February 24, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    This two test concept is just not satisfactory and should be abolished. It's not too different from playing a two set tennis match, which would be ludicrous. It should be three tests minimum, four for series between top ranked teams and 5 for special occasions (e.g. when teams ranked 1 & 2 play each other. Even 5 Ashes games have recently become excessive given their frequency).

  • on February 24, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    High probability of getting most of the games washed away due to monsoon rain...BETTER TO GET THE WEATHER FORECAST FROM BBC. January, February & March are the driest months in Sri Lanka. But still no matches during these dry seasons...Long live SLC... :) ..Poor administrators

  • GlobalCricketLover on February 24, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    I hope SA plays ODI's first to get some practice..usually they are slow starters and we don't a slow start in a 2-test series...

  • Dhushan on February 24, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    Why is SLC not playing 3 tests against the top ranked test nation? I firmly believe that we can give up a very goos fight against SA, to try & win a series, but why only 2 tests? I do not understand how this board runs. It should have been 3 tests, 5 ODIs & T20s. Disappointing! Utterly disappointing!

  • SLMaster on February 24, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    This is great. I do not mind 5 ODI because WC is around the corner.

  • Sinhaya on February 24, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    To add to my previous comment, this tour will be a great test for Kaushal Silva, Chandimal, Karunarathne, Vithanage and KP to face worldclass quality bowling on slow friendly home tracks. Good luck to both teams. Hope the Proteas will enjoy the warm Sri Lankan hospitality and looking forward to seeing you all here.

  • Sinhaya on February 24, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    So great to hear this and big thanks to South Africa. No doubt SA are the best in tests when it comes to test matches abroad in the past 6 years. However, they have their worse test record in Sri Lanka winning only 2 and they were in 1993 and 2000. This time yes we have no Vaas and Murali but still we will be good at home as dont forget we beat SA in a test for the first time in SA sans Vaas and Murali. Would have been great to see 3 tests but with world cup next year, worth playing ODIs too. My prediction for the tests is 1-1 SA as they are simply the best in tests.

    Don't forget that SA have a forgetful ODI record in SL too winning only 2 as last year the win when they came was the first since 1993. Simple answer to SA having a forgetful record in SA comes down to the similar fact where we play our worse test cricket (home and away) against Australia which is why we have won only 1 test so far. SA may also be playing their worse cricket in Sri Lanka.

  • Albert_cambell on February 24, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    Great news to hear. We will be looking forward to win a test series in Sri lanka this time. They don't have legendary bowlers like Murali and Vaas this time so its a great opportunity for us.Only Sangakkara and Mahela are going to be a challenge for us. I would have loved to see a 3 test match series.

  • Blade-Runner on February 24, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    Wow..this is great. A chance for Sanga and Mahela to set a few more world records. :P This will be a good challenge for South Africa as they were whitewashed last time when they visited SL for a test series. Decision to have only 2 Test matches must be due to the busy schedule as SL will have 2 trips to England and New Zealand this year.

  • PABS on February 24, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    This is ridiculous from both the boards. As custodians of the game (in their respective countries), they might be entitled to short-changing their ardent fans, but they must question their conscience before short-changing the game itself.This malady has to be arrested through legislation. I hope the disbursal of the "Test Match Fund" is dependent on every series having a minimum of 3-Tests (barring series involving BAN & ZIM). At a time when players and spectators are pleading for a sustained programme to revive Test cricket, this news has come as a huge dampener.

  • on February 24, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    That is mean 8ODI. 3 T20 and 2 Tests? Oh Cmon SLC.

  • nickexplore on February 24, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Three tests would have been a better option. Any ideas where the 2 tests will be played? I predict Premadasa and Pallekele, but would love to see a test in Galle. That leaves Hambantota and Dambulla as other possible ODI venues. Sangakkara is in imperious form, hoping his average stays above 58 after the England tests and can't wait to see Steyn and Philander in SL up against Sanga and Mahela. Philander has the most beautiful bowling action I have ever seen, and his average astonishing. Steyn one of the all-time greats, as he proved demoliishing Australia yesterday.

  • on February 24, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    All series between two top eight teams should be 3 tests minimum - and between two top four teams they should ideally be 4-5. Fat chance ...

  • Modestman on February 24, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Fully agreed with James Kasherman.It doesn't make sense, when there's no decider.It's evident that third and final test is always a crunch game between any two sides.And always allow the team which comes from behind a fair and equal chance,to choose their own destiny.

  • on February 24, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    Not sure what to think of this decision. While it's good that Sri Lanka finally get Tests against the country who haven't lost an away series in 8 years, the substitution of a Test for more ODIs just leaves me with an empty feeling inside. Surely they can add a couple of ODIs to a tour of three Tests, instead of having to sacrifice a Test.

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  • on February 24, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    Not sure what to think of this decision. While it's good that Sri Lanka finally get Tests against the country who haven't lost an away series in 8 years, the substitution of a Test for more ODIs just leaves me with an empty feeling inside. Surely they can add a couple of ODIs to a tour of three Tests, instead of having to sacrifice a Test.

  • Modestman on February 24, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Fully agreed with James Kasherman.It doesn't make sense, when there's no decider.It's evident that third and final test is always a crunch game between any two sides.And always allow the team which comes from behind a fair and equal chance,to choose their own destiny.

  • on February 24, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    All series between two top eight teams should be 3 tests minimum - and between two top four teams they should ideally be 4-5. Fat chance ...

  • nickexplore on February 24, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Three tests would have been a better option. Any ideas where the 2 tests will be played? I predict Premadasa and Pallekele, but would love to see a test in Galle. That leaves Hambantota and Dambulla as other possible ODI venues. Sangakkara is in imperious form, hoping his average stays above 58 after the England tests and can't wait to see Steyn and Philander in SL up against Sanga and Mahela. Philander has the most beautiful bowling action I have ever seen, and his average astonishing. Steyn one of the all-time greats, as he proved demoliishing Australia yesterday.

  • on February 24, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    That is mean 8ODI. 3 T20 and 2 Tests? Oh Cmon SLC.

  • PABS on February 24, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    This is ridiculous from both the boards. As custodians of the game (in their respective countries), they might be entitled to short-changing their ardent fans, but they must question their conscience before short-changing the game itself.This malady has to be arrested through legislation. I hope the disbursal of the "Test Match Fund" is dependent on every series having a minimum of 3-Tests (barring series involving BAN & ZIM). At a time when players and spectators are pleading for a sustained programme to revive Test cricket, this news has come as a huge dampener.

  • Blade-Runner on February 24, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    Wow..this is great. A chance for Sanga and Mahela to set a few more world records. :P This will be a good challenge for South Africa as they were whitewashed last time when they visited SL for a test series. Decision to have only 2 Test matches must be due to the busy schedule as SL will have 2 trips to England and New Zealand this year.

  • Albert_cambell on February 24, 2014, 16:11 GMT

    Great news to hear. We will be looking forward to win a test series in Sri lanka this time. They don't have legendary bowlers like Murali and Vaas this time so its a great opportunity for us.Only Sangakkara and Mahela are going to be a challenge for us. I would have loved to see a 3 test match series.

  • Sinhaya on February 24, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    So great to hear this and big thanks to South Africa. No doubt SA are the best in tests when it comes to test matches abroad in the past 6 years. However, they have their worse test record in Sri Lanka winning only 2 and they were in 1993 and 2000. This time yes we have no Vaas and Murali but still we will be good at home as dont forget we beat SA in a test for the first time in SA sans Vaas and Murali. Would have been great to see 3 tests but with world cup next year, worth playing ODIs too. My prediction for the tests is 1-1 SA as they are simply the best in tests.

    Don't forget that SA have a forgetful ODI record in SL too winning only 2 as last year the win when they came was the first since 1993. Simple answer to SA having a forgetful record in SA comes down to the similar fact where we play our worse test cricket (home and away) against Australia which is why we have won only 1 test so far. SA may also be playing their worse cricket in Sri Lanka.

  • Sinhaya on February 24, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    To add to my previous comment, this tour will be a great test for Kaushal Silva, Chandimal, Karunarathne, Vithanage and KP to face worldclass quality bowling on slow friendly home tracks. Good luck to both teams. Hope the Proteas will enjoy the warm Sri Lankan hospitality and looking forward to seeing you all here.