South Africa (The Southern African Times) – Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and chose to bat in the opening test in South Africa on Saturday.
It’s the first test in South Africa in nearly a year and will put the country’s COVID-19 protocols on trial again after a one-day series against England was called off this month because of an outbreak of virus cases in the teams’ hotel.
The call by Karunaratne was something of a surprise with SuperSport Park’s reputation of being fast-bowler friendly. He said he was backing his batting order, which is missing the experienced Angelo Mathews because of a hamstring injury.
Sri Lanka made history on its last tour to South Africa last year when it became the first Asian team to win a test series in the country.
Both teams enter this series having played no test cricket since January.
South Africa has given pace bowler Lutho Sipamla his test debut and selected allrounder Wiaan Mulder at No. 7. The home team is missing injured fast bowler Kagiso Rabada so Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi will lead the pace attack.
Quinton de Kock faces his first challenge as South Africa’s new test captain.
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (captain), Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha.