Dhaka, Bangladesh
South Africa await Sri Lankan spin test

South Africa await Sri Lankan spin test

Ball tampering is a common factor between South Africa and Sri Lanka ahead of the two-Test series that will kick-off in Galle on Thursday (July 12). While South Africa were first-hand witnesses to one of the biggest ball-tampering scandals in history that resulted in Australia's captain and vice-captain being suspended for a year, in addition to a nine-month suspension for Cameron Bancroft, Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal was suspended after being found guilty of altering the condition of the ball against Windies last month, reports Cribuzz. Although Chandimal has been named in the squad, his participation in the series is unlikely owing to the disciplinary charges and a probable suspension looming large given his involvement along with coach Chandika Hathurusingha in delaying the start of play for almost two hours on the third day of the St. Lucia Test amidst the ball-tampering row. This transgression meant that they were were charged with a Level 3 offence, which carries between four and eight suspension points. Suranga Lakmal will skipper the side in the eventuality of his absence. Grim news aside, Angelo Mathews returns to the side after the birth of his second child, although fitness concerns for Rangana Herath and Kusal Perera remain. Irrespective of the conditions and wickets, it is no secret that South Africa's pacemen are their strength. But if history is anything to go by, South Africa's tour of India in 2016, that they lost 0-3, can't validate the same. Yet, when South Africa take on Sri Lanka in the first of two Tests, it will be on their pacers that their dependency would lie, boosted this time by the return of veteran quick Dale Steyn. Steyn, who was kept out of action with a heel injury will be playing his first international after having faced India in the Test series at home earlier in the year. He will join an attack that includes Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada - who himself makes a return to international cricket after a lower back injury had him sidelined after the end of the Test series against Australia - and Lungi Ngidi. Yet, given that South Africa's coach had stated that conditions would determine the combination, the visitors could still field two of their three spinners of Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Shaun von Berg. The retirement of AB de Villiers in May leaves Temba Bavuma with the chance to make the No. 4 position his own in the batting order. In the warm-up leading into the Test, Hashim Amla, Bavuma and du Plessis all were among the runs, scoring half-centuries. However, come the first Test when they are up against the wily Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya or Lakshan Sandakan, it could be a different story. How South Africa will face-up to the challenge, time will tell.

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