Third Test Preview: SA v Sri Lanka
South Africa have been in imperious form in the series so far with Sri Lanka struggling to come to terms with the seam friendly conditions and that shouldn’t change at the Wanderers.
If Sri Lanka’s batsman can exhibit more patience and cope with the extra bounce and pace in the wicket there will be runs on offer but they have shown little to suggest they will come good.
The Proteas biggest enemy could be the mood in the camp having learned that one of the heroes of the tour down under and this series Kyle Abbott would be lost to South African cricket and complacency having taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead.
Wayne Parnell looks set to make his return to Test cricket having scored a hundred and taken a four wicket haul as the Cobras notched their first Sunfoil Series win of the campaign against the Lions.
Theunis de Bruyn and Duanne Olivier remain in the squad but have also been named in the Knights group for their Sunfoil Series clash with the Dolphins in Kimberley.
Sri Lanka could bring in Dushmantha Chameera for Nuwan Pradeep who pulled up during the second Test but it seems they will otherwise opt for continuity as they serach for consistency.
Much like the last Test the openers will be key and with Stephen Cook playing his first Test at the ground where he has plied his trade in domestic cricket for 17 years much will be expected of him.
With Kyle Abbott gone Vernon Philander will need to lead the Proteas attack but the pitch will certainly play to Kagiso Rabada’s strengths.
Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne need to do better for Sri Lanka and protect their vulnerable middle order for longer. Skipper Angelo Mathews and deputy Dinesh Chandimal will also need to set a better example to their charges with the bat and in the field.
Last five head-to-head results
2016 Second Test: South Africa won by 282 Runs at Newlands
2016 First Test: South Africa won by 206 runs at St George’s Park
2014 Second Test: Drawn in Colombo
2014 First Test: South Africa won by 153 runs in Galle
2012 Third Test: South Africa won by ten wickets in Cape Town
Proteas Test squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Duanne Olivier, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt.), Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Kumara, Vikum Sanjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath
Dates: 12–16 January
Morning session: 10:00-12:00 (08:00-10:00 GMT)
Afternoon session: 12:40-14:40 (10:40-14:40 GMT)
Evening session: 15:00-17:00 (13:00-15:00 GMT)
Umpires: Rod Tucker, Bruce Oxenford
TV Umpire: Aleem Dar
Match Referee: David Boon
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