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Cricket news - Sri Lanka look to seize opportunity against new-look South Africa
The South African tour has opened Sri Lanka to all ranges of emotions they can find on that invisible scale. The joys of creating history in the Tests to the reality check in the ODIs, and now, on the last leg, they have already played out a thrilling tie before the Super Over put them one-down in the series.
But there is no reason for them to feel disheartened. Not only were they fielding an inexperienced side but also were without several of their frontline players and yet managed to keep themselves even in the contest. And with South Africa resting five of their senior players, the challenge should get easier for the second match.
Sri Lanka still have some serious concerns to address; outside their T20 game. Primary among them has been that Thisara Perera, the batsman, has not come to South Africa with the same form that he displayed in New Zealand. Even without winning games for the side, the southpaw displayed how much of a difference he can make lower down the order with his big hitting. South Africa have worked a way around his weakness and he has two more games to address the short-comings.
The other big match-winner in the side - Lasith Malinga - may have bowled a superb spell on Tuesday, but the talks around the ODI captaincy being handed over to Dimuth Karunaratne is unlikely to leave him in a settled space.
While South Africa will get a good time to test their bench, Sri Lanka will have more pressing concerns in Centurion.
When: South Africa vs Sri Lanka, April 22, 2019
Where: SuperSport Park, Centurion
What to expect: The temperature is expected to hover from mid to late 20s, with spells of rain expected. The Centurion pitch has been good for batting, but if the conditions continue to remain dry, like it was in the ODIs, run-making should be difficult.
South Africa: The hosts will be without five of their key players - Faf du Plessis, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock, all of whom will be travelling to India to join their respective IPL sides, and Lungi Ngidi (out injured). This allows South Africa to play all their three all-rounders - Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo. JP Duminy will lead the side while David Miller will continue to keep wickets. Anrich Nortje has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury.
Probable XI: Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy (c), David Miller (wk), Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi
Sri Lanka: The spin strategy worked for Sri Lanka in the first T20I and they are likely to stick to the same. But they might be tempted to give Suranga Lakmal some game time, and rest one of the pacers
Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Kamindu Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga (c), Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay
What they said
"I am used to those tight situations and conditions, though I am getting old, I like these challenges... In a T20 game the result is not known till the last ball and that's why we fight for every single ball." - Lasith Malinga, after the Super Over loss in the first T20I.
"We backed him (Miller with the gloves) and are working with him behind the scenes. He was nervous but he has our backing." - Faf du Plessis on David Miller keeping wickets.
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