The second and final test between Sri Lanka and South Africa starts on Thursday, 24 July at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo. The hosts are trailing 0-1 after Dale Steyn shattered several bowling records as he pocketed 9/99 in South Africa’s massive 153-run victory at Galle. The pitch is expected to be normal sub-continent pitches that will assist the spinners but after the performances of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, South Africa can keep faith on their speed duo to trouble the Lankan batsmen.
Amla would be hoping for a better display from his leading spinner Imran Tahir. Tahir, who was an attacking addition to the Test pack, could not bowl well in Galle and the fact has led to questions over his role. His lone strike in 45 overs would cause further raised eyebrows considering the pitch at Galle over the years support bowlers of his kind, especially in the latter stages of a Test. Although the turn was described as being slower than normal, Sri Lanka’s two spinners shared 11 victims between them. “He (Tahir) must not fall into the trap that, because we are in Sri Lanka, wickets are dry and the spinners come into play, he feels he must take five wickets. It’s about building the pressure. Wickets are a bonus.” Claude Henderson, South Africa spin-bowling coach said. This implies that Tahir is no longer seen as a strike bowler because South Africa have realised their seamers can do that job just about anywhere. With Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel taking 16 wickets in Galle, there is little argument against that belief, but it also means Tahir will be asked to change his mindset. Also Amla may ask JP Duminy to bowl more. What that means for Dane Piedt – the reserve spinner on tour, who topped the first-class wicket charts last summer but has an impressive economy rate – will only be known in the future.
None of the Lankan batsmen baring Kumar Sangakkara could stand against the aggressive bowling of Steyn and Morkel.Sangakkara played a lone hand for Sri Lanka in their second innings scoring 76 runs on the fifth day. It is about time that Angelo Mathews and the rest of the middle order stands up and puts up a spirited display if Sri Lanka wants to rise any hope of levelling the series. Uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella has been flown in from England to join the Sri Lanka squad ahead of the second Test against South Africa. Dickwella was on Sri Lanka A’s ongoing tour of England, but he will now be available for the SSC Test, which begins on Thursday. He did not train with the team on Tuesday, having just arrived from London, but will take part in practice on the eve of the match. Dickwella’s inclusion is an indication that Dinesh Chandimal’s position in the side may be under threat, or at the very least, that Chandimal may be relieved of the gloves.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Shaminda Eranga has been ruled out for the second Test due to the hand injury he sustained in Galle. Eranga has been Sri Lanka’s most penetrative bowler in 2014, with 25 wickets at 27.64 and his loss would hamper the hosts’ chances of bouncing back from a 0-1 scoreline.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Chanaka Welagedara
South Africa: SA Hashim Amla (c) Kyle Abbott Quinton de Kock (wk) AB de Villiers Jean-Paul Duminy Faf du Plessis Dean Elgar Imran Tahir Morne Morkel Wayne Parnell Alviro Petersen Vernon Philander Dane Piedt Dale Steyn Stiaan van Zyl