The first test between Sri Lanka and South Africa gets underway in Galle on Thursday and we take a look at the squads, recent and head to head form and the betting.
This two match test series is to be followed by 5 ODI’s and a one off T20 international and we begin with news of the test match squads.
At the time of writing Sri Lanka are sweating on the fitness of Rangana Herath and Kusal Perera as well as the availability of skipper Dinesh Chandimal, watch the media for comfirmation as to whether all or any of the aforementioned will make the line up.
Sri Lanka Squad:
Dinesh Chandimal (c), Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera (Subject to Fitness), Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath (Subject to fitness), Suranga Lakmal (vc), Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha
Although AB de Villiers is no longer available the Proteas bring along their remaining big guns whilst Shaun von Berg is the additional spin option.
South Africa Squad:
Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Shaun von Berg, Aiden Markram
Sri Lanka haven’t played a home series since July / August 2017 when they were beaten 3-0 by India, losing each match by a wide margin. Later that year they upset Pakistan with a 2-0 win in the UAE before losing a 3 match series 1-0 in India.
In 2018 Sri Lanka have won 1-0 in Bangladesh (2 match series) and most recently they drew 1-1 in West Indies (3 match series).
South Africa have won both series they have played this year, 2-1 at home to India and 3-1 at home to Australia. The last time they toured for a test series came in England 12 months ago where they were beaten 3-1.
Recent Series Head to Head
Dec 2016 to Jan 2017, 3 matches in South Africa, Proteas won 3-0
July 2014, 2 matches in Sri Lanka, Proteas won 1-0
Dec 2011 to Jan 2012, 3 matches in South Africa, Proteas won 2-1
July / August 2006 2 matches in Sri Lanka, SL won 2-0
The Venue, Galle
The most recent test match at this venue came in July 2017 when India beat Sri Lanka by 304 runs. India piled 600 runs batting first and never let go.
When South Africa last played here in 2014 they won by 153 runs. In the first innings there were centuries for Elgar and Duminy and 80 for Faf du Plessis in a total of 455/9 declared. Dale Steyn took 5 Sri Lankan wickets in the first innings reply of 292 all out and another 4 in the second innings as the Proteas cruised to victory.
Betting - Match Result
Sri Lanka 7/2
South Africa 21/20
Note: Prices are an average of what was available at the time of writing but are subject to change
Spin obviously plays a huge part in this part of the world but Dale Steyn has proved before that there is scope for the quicks to shine and in that department the Proteas hold all the aces.
Whilst not an overly confident call South Africa are my idea of the likely winners.
Bet: South Africa to win the first test at 21/20
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum