Pitches could decide Test series against Sri Lanka

2011-12-15 00:00

PITCH preparation will play a key role in the Test series between South Africa and Sri Lanka, which starts today at Centurion. The Proteas, who have not won a home Test series since their victory against Bangladesh in 2007, will be keen to convert their fondness for home conditions into a series win. They have an arsenal of pace bowlers accustomed to taking advantage of the hard, bouncy wickets, and will hope to exploit the Sri Lankan batsmen’s dislike of pace and steep bounce.

Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan leads a side that contain only a couple of players whose last tour of South Africa was nine years ago. Besides his vast experience, and Kumar Sangakarra and Mahele Jayawardene’s, Sri Lanka’s exposure to South African conditions is limited, although some of their players have represented their country’s A and U19 sides here. Facing super-quick bowling on the fast-paced bouncy wickets of South Africa is quite a daunting prospect for the Sri Lankans. Their success in the series will be determined by how quickly their batsmen come to terms with these unfamiliar pitches.

The importance of pitch preparation was highlighted in the thrilling second Test match between Australia and New Zealand in Hobart. Australia dominated the first test match in Brisbane on a hard, flat pitch. The Australians needed only 19 runs in their second innings to secure a nine-wicket victory over the Black Caps. Things were very different in Hobart where a seaming wicket was produced and overhead conditions were ideal for New Zealand’s swing bowlers. Australia opened the door for New Zealand to level the series in a low-scoring test match.

Dale Steyn, speaking ahead of the Proteas first Test match, admitted that the Protea pace attack is out to make the Sri Lankans feel awkward and uncomfortable by “hitting their bats higher than they are used to”. Steyn, Morné Morkel and Marchant de Lange will be chomping at the bit to rip through the visitors’ batting line-up.

The second Test match at Kingsmead, which starts on Boxing Day, is likely to provide little respite for the Sri Lankan batsmen. There is every chance that curator Wilson Ngobese will produce a traditional pacey Kingsmead wicket with a generous covering of grass.

The final Test match of the series will be played in Cape Town. The Newlands faithful will be hoping to see more cricket than they did in the record-breaking Test against Australia, which ended in just two-and-a-half days.

That match was played early on in the season, so in theory the wicket should play far better in January after weeks of sun and drying out by the South-easter.

Of all the pitches, Newlands should be most to Sri Lanka’s liking, but the series may well be decided by then.

The Proteas will be hoping that by the time they get to Newlands, in the new year, they will have inflicted enough damage on the Sri Lankans to wrap up the series and cement their place as the number two-ranked Test side in the world.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Junior Chef

Century City
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R8 000 - R9 000 Per Month

CSR Inbound

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
O'Brien Recruitment
R14 000 - R16 000 Per Month

Graphic Designer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Creative Sourcing
R7 000 - R9 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.