Sri Lanka is set to take on South Africa in Centurion for the first test between the two sides. In South African conditions, on a green and hard pitch, South Africa are sure to use the conditions to their advantage. There is no doubt that South African bowlers will test the Sri Lankan batsmen with short deliveries.
The pitch at Centurion which has been prepared for this match is reported to be very green and hard. It is not one of those pitches which are generally brown with patches of green. It is one of the pitches that have grass on it throughout, thick and thin at different points. Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lankan captain has said that this is the greenest pitch he has ever seen in South Africa.
Both teams realize that they can utilize these conditions to their favor. South African captain, where confident of his bowling attack, does not rule out the option that Sri Lankan pacers will also make the most of the wicket. In the past, green pitches have both gone for and against the South African team.
“We know that South African conditions can turn a seamer with a limited record into a seamer with a very good record, so we have respect for the conditions we are playing on and the challenges we face in the next few weeks” said the South African Test skipper Graeme Smith.
Sri Lanka went to South Africa after back to back losses to England, Australia and South Africa. Apart from the ODI World Cup, in which they managed to reach the final but lost against India, Sri Lanka have had a horrendous year. Under a new coach and captain, they are still trying to find the winning formula.
Their case has not been helped by the retirement of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, the two bowlers they depended on most. Their batsmen are not taking responsibility, and apart from Kumar Sangakarra, all other batsmen are short of form. It is time for senior pros like Dilshan and Jayawardene to step up and make a better effort for the team. This is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to try to end the year on a high note, and take the momentum forward to the next year.
It will be very interesting to have a look at the team compositions. South Africa are expected to go in with three seamers, and it is yet to be seen whether Sri Lanka give the responsibility to their fast bowlers or spinners.
South Africa will be looking to end their streak of disappointing results at home when they take on Sri Lanka in a three-Test series. Since December 2007, South Africa have played a total of six Test series at home and have won only two.
South Africa’s series wins came against West Indies and Bangladesh while they lost once to Australia, drew once against the same team and the series against England and India also ended up as draws. On the other hand, the Proteas have been brilliant tourists, winning against England, Australia and West Indies since December 2007 and are yet to lose a single series in that time-frame.