No backing off as South Africa go for the kill in second Test

2014-07-23 00:00

DESPITE being 1-0 up in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, the Proteas want nothing but a win second time around.

The second Test starts tomorrow in Colombo, at the Sinhalese Sports Club, and the Proteas are after Sri Lanka’s jugular. They want to finish with a win and stamp their authority on sub-continent soil, keeping their foot firmly on the pedal.

New skipper Hashim Amla enjoyed a dream start with a 153-run win in his first Test in charge and his troops want more of the same.

Key batsman AB de Villiers, who has given the keeping duties to Quinton de Kock in the series, knows this is a vital match.

“We have had time to reflect on the win in the first Test, which was special,” he said. “But now it’s time to focus on a huge match for us. A two-nil win in the Tests having already won the ODI series is massive.”

It looks as though the Proteas will attempt to follow the same successful recipe for a second time. Again, winning the toss is vital in laying a platform from which to control the game.

“Like we did in Galle, it will be important to start well and allow the players to express their talent as the game progresses,” said De Villiers.

A ground that has produced three high-scoring draws in its last three matches, De Villiers believes the toss is crucial. “Generally, winning the toss in Sri Lanka means batting first,” he said. “There has been some juice in the wicket during the first session. The key is to make it work for you if bowling first.”

However, the hosts will also come hard, keen to share the spoils on home turf. “They want a result as well so I think both sides will play positive cricket,” said De Villiers.

That said, it’s hoped the Proteas won’t experience what they did the last time they played a Test at this venue. It was in 2006, when Sri Lanka won by an innings and 153 runs. Current team members Amla, De Villiers and Dale Steyn were there when Kumar Sangakkara (287) and Mahela Jayawardene (374) put on a world record 624 for the third wicket.

With Steyn fresh from a nine-wicket haul in Galle and Morné Morkel hitting his straps, it’s unlikely the Proteas will chase leather for too long.

As for Amla’s captaincy, De Villiers said, “He has always been a natural leader. His great start as Test captain could herald an amazing career in charge for him. He has the credentials and the whole team are behind him.”

South Africa in Tests at Colombo

1993

South Africa won by an innings and 208 runs

Sri Lanka 168 (Schultz 5-48) & 119 (Schultz 4-58)

SA 495 (Wessels 92, Hudson 58, Cronje 122, Cullinan 52, Symcox 50, Snell 48)

2000

Draw

SA 279 (Klusener 95*; Vaas 4-85, Muralitharan 3-67) & 241 (Rhodes 54; Muralitharan 6-68)

Sri Lanka 258 (Jayasuriya 85; Boje 5-62, Pollock 3-40) & 195-4 (Jayawardene 101*)

2004

Sri Lanka won by 313 runs

Sri Lanka 470 (Sangakkara 232, Jayawardene 82; Pollock 4-81) & 211-4 (Atapattu 72, Sangakkara 64)

SA 189 (Smith 65, Van Jaarsveld 51; Jayasuriya 5-34) & 179 (Dippenaar 59, Boucher 51; Vaas 6-29)

2006

SL won by an innings and 153 runs

SA 169 (De Villiers 65; Fernando 4-48, Muralitharan 4-41) & 434 (Rudolph 90, Hall 64, Boucher 85; Muralitharan 6-131)

Sri Lanka 756-5 (Jayawardene 374, Sangakkara 287; Steyn 3-129).

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