South Africa and Sri Lanka will finish a prolonged Covid-induced break from Test cricket, when the primary of two world championship Test matches begins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday. Neither aspect has performed a red-ball worldwide since January, when South Africa misplaced 3-1 in a house collection in opposition to England with Sri Lanka profitable a two-match collection 1-Zero in Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka can name on many of the gamers who shocked the Proteas by profitable each Tests on their earlier tour of South Africa two seasons in the past. On paper, South Africa are weaker than they have been in that earlier collection with their complete quick bowling assault of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier lacking via retirement, harm or, within the case of Olivier, the lure of the British pound.
The Sri Lanka collection additionally marked the tip of the distinguished Test profession of batsman Hashim Amla.
There has been a change of captaincy, with Faf du Plessis having resigned, though he stays as a participant.
Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s main Test batsman final season, has accepted what quantities to a caretaker position for the 2020/21 season solely.
De Kock’s appointment has echoes of that of Dimuth Karunaratne, the Sri Lankan opening batsman, who was introduced as a “stand-in” captain for the 2018/19 tour however did such a very good job of instilling a constructive angle in his gamers that he has remained on the helm.
Conditions, although, shall be considerably totally different, with the matches being performed on the quick, bouncy pitches of Centurion and Johannesburg as an alternative of the slower, coastal surfaces in Durban and Port Elizabeth the place Sri Lanka prevailed final time.
Despite having a very totally different quick bowling assault, South Africa’s bowlers will current a tricky problem to the visiting batsmen.
Anrich Nortje is without doubt one of the quickest bowlers on this planet, whereas Lungi Ngidi has returned to kind after a collection of accidents.
Glenton Stuurman might win a primary cap as a like-for-like substitute for the naggingly correct Philander.
Key for Sri Lanka would be the anticipated return of Kusal Perera.
The left-hander performed a career-defining innings when he made 153 not out within the first Test in Durban on the earlier tour, turning what appeared prone to be a routine South African win into an exhilarating one-wicket victory for the vacationers, sealed with an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 78 with Vishwa Fernando.
Before that innings, Perera had a Test batting common under 30. He was unable to maintain his Durban kind, and was dropped after a poor collection in opposition to New Zealand later in 2019.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain, wkt), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Dwaine Pretorius or Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Glenton Stuurman, Lungi Ngidi.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wkt), Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, plus two from Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Adrian Holdstock (each RSA)
TV umpire: Allahudien Paleker (RSA)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)
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