Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews is confident of doing well against the Proteas, but believes the main challenge will be South Africa’s pace attack.
History suggests that Sri Lanka will be up against it across all the formats when they begin their tour of South Africa on Boxing Day, but Mathews has other plans as he aims to win all three series.
The islanders have only won one Test in South Africa – a 208-run thrashing in Durban in 2011. The Proteas have also won the last two ODIs against them, including the World Cup quarter-final clash last year. In T20s, South Africa boast a 4-2 head-to-head record. This might sound daunting for the visitors, but Mathews believes their preparations have gone to plan.
‘The main objective is to win all three series, but it might take some time to get used to the conditions,’ he said at the departure press conference.
‘The biggest challenge will be the pace and bounce, but we’ve tried our best to prepare pacey, bouncy wickets to train on; we left some grass on the pitches.
‘All of the guys have scored 100s home and away, but it’s the first time in South Africa for a lot of them.’
Sri Lanka should carry a lot of confidence through with them after thrashing Australia 3-0 at home in September. The biggest concern for them going through to this series was the fitness of two of their star players – Mathews himself and vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal – but Mathews said they’re both ready to go.
‘I’ve just started bowling so I’m hopeful of being fully fit. A lot of work will go into the next couple of weeks to make sure of that.’
Sri Lanka Test squad:
Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Kumara, Vikum Sanjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images