Lankans remain shaky ahead of second Test

2011-12-23 14:50

Sahara Kingsmead has not been kind to the Proteas, who have lost their last three Test matches at the Durban cricket ground. But then again, Sri Lanka will need more than a hoodoo if they are to square the series in the second Test.

The visitors, who were outplayed in the first Test, will be boosted by the inclusion of bowlers Kanishka Alvitigala and Dhammika Prasad. This will strengthen their fast-bowling ranks but their real headache lies with their batting.

This latter aspect failed to see out a combined 86.5 overs in two innings, just under a full day’s play.

Losing 20 wickets for 330 runs can be expected from Bangladesh but not from the quality-laden Lankan team.

It was simply shambolic.

Their fabulous four of team captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, top-order batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera only managed 128 runs between them.

This simply means they were outscored by the Proteas’ lower-order by 14 runs.

The SuperSport Park pitch in Centurion did not make for easy batting and the visitors were in two minds when it came to deliveries outside off-stump.

The wicketkeeper and the slips produced 14 of the 20 wickets, illustrating their weakness in the corridor.

The South African bowlers used the conditions well, with all-rounder Vernon Philander (26) taking 10/102.

Things could get better for Sri Lanka, though, as Durban conditions tend to favour the quicker bowlers.

Besides their recent dodgy record at Kingsmead, the Proteas seem to have ticked all the right boxes with a consummately professional performance.

The bowling, except for leg-break bowler Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel, fired on all cylinders.

It’s difficult to predict the winner here. The Test starts on Monday.

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