South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test: Preview & Predicted Playing XI
South Africa whitewashed Pakistan in the previous series and will bank on the momentum ahead of the clash.
South Africa possess a strong batting unit in Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. De Kock and Amla played a key role in Proteas victory against Pakistan and were leading run-getters for South Africa with 251 and 209 runs respectively. These two along with skipper Faf and Aiden Markram are their most consistent performers and can smack big knocks, if not dismissed early.
Dale Steyn is Proteas' most experienced bowler and boasts a strong aggregate of 431 Test wickets to his name. He will eager to make it 450+ within the course of this series. Duanne Olivier and Kagiso Rabada were the team's best bowlers in the previous series against Pakistan with 24 and 17 wickets respectively and will be expected to dominate the bowling charts against the Islanders as well.
Expected Playing XI
Faf du Plessis (C), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (W), Keshav Maharaj, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla and Theunis de Bruyn.
On the flipside, Sri Lankans are going through a tough phase in this format and have lost six of their last seven Tests, with one ending in a draw. This previous Test win was against same opponents during South Africa tour of Sri Lanka in July 2018, where they dismantled the Proteas 2-0, and will once again aim to end their poor run against the Proteas.
Dimuth Karunaratne will be leading the side in this series and has been in good form recently. The newly appointed skipper leads the batting runs charts from the current squad with 3988 Test runs to his name and will be expected to lead from the front as a batsman. Lahiru Thirimanne and Niroshan Dickwella were one of few positives for Islanders in the series against Australia and the team will need them to continue their good form against the Proteas.
Suranga Lakmal was most impressive among the lot against Aussies and claimed a five-wicket haul in the only Test he played. He is going to be skipper's go-to man against the Proteas. The team will also need a strong contribution from Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha, both of whom are raw talents in the side. If they can meet the expectations, it'll be a certain plus for the Lankans, both in the series and well as the future.
Expected Playing XI
Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kaushal Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (W), Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha and Vishwa Fernando.