Faf du Plessis says his batsmen will be crucial in his side winning the first Test on a predicted dry pitch in Galle.
The Proteas start their two-match Test series in the Pearl of the Orient at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.
After a perfect home series which was an exhibition for fast bowling, the Proteas must pivot their gameplan to find 20 wickets on low and slow pitches, completely contrasting to the quick bouncy wickets at home.
‘We are extremely lucky to have a great pace attack. With Keshav Maharaj coming into the side the last year, he has been exceptional for us,’ said Du Plessis in his post-match press conference on Wednesday.
‘I do feel within our bowling attack, we have the ability to take 20 wickets on whatever the surface is. So I think where the series will be won is with the batters, who need to stand up for both teams.
‘Sri Lanka have very good spinners and they will sit there thinking that they can get 20 wickets as well, so I think where you will see the series won or lost is in the batting department.’
Proteas skipper believes he will have a difficult decision when it comes to their team selection.
‘We had a look at the wicket and it is quite dry. So we need to consider whether we go with seven batsmen or two spinners and that’s a decision we have to make. We certainly believe that our three seamers, on a dry pitch, can get wickets.
‘The ball will reverse swing if the middle is dry and spinning. With pace, reverse swing is always a factor.
‘But for us, the factor will be whether to play two spinners or an extra batsman. We still contemplating who will be the best suited for this wicket.’
With reverse set to play a role, Du Plessis believes that Dale Steyn will be dangerous.
‘Dale’s X-factor is how he picks up wickets with the reverse-swinging ball,’ Du Plessis continued.
‘His way of getting wickets the last while with the new ball is by getting the ball to move around with swing and seam and by being really consistent.
‘Then there’s a period of the game when he gets his tail up and gets one wicket and then he is up there with the most dangerous bowlers in the world.
‘Because he is so skillful, he can get the ball to reverse-swing with pace. But I’m hoping to see him bowl very quick again.
‘He hasn’t been playing for a long time, so he will be very excited to get an opportunity to bowl again. It’s a great sight to see him when the ball is reversing and he’s running in and keeping those legs very fast.’
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix