Amla in favour of Tahir selection

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Captain Hashim Amla has all but confirmed leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be retained in South Africa's playing XI for the second and final Test, which will start in Colombo on Thursday.

Captain Hashim Amla has all but confirmed leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be retained in South Africa's playing XI for the second and final Test, which will start in Colombo on Thursday.

Tahir took just one wicket – and proved consistently expensive during the Proteas' 153-run victory at the Galle International Stadium last week. He is, however, likely to be selected ahead of the uncapped Dane Piedt again.

"Imran is a quality performer. I am not concerned about him at all. He has been exceptional in the shorter format of the game. Test cricket is a challenging place," said Amla.

"He will come good, it will take a few good performances to get his confidence back. He is a wonderful bowler. I'd say he is one the most highly skilled leg-spinners in the world."

The Proteas will return to the helm of the International Cricket Council's Test rankings, if this two-match series ends in triumph. The Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, meanwhile, is a venue renowned for run-heavy draws.

"What is more on our minds is to play good cricket for the next five days. Fortunately we've got the backing of a one-nil victory behind us," added Amla.

"But the bigger picture is to play some solid cricket in this match. We come here with a clean slate, we have to forget what happened in the last Test."

The tourists are on the brink of naming an unchanged team. The young Quinton de Kock will play wicketkeeper again, while the talented AB de Villiers will be selected as a specialist batsman. Al-rounder Vernon Philander, who was found guilty of ball-tampering – and went without a wicket in Galle – will probably be picked ahead of left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell.

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