After a very successful series win in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka will now be travelling to South Africa for a test, ODI, and T20 series. The two teams will play 3 test matches, 3 T20s and 5 ODIs from December 26, 2016 to February 10, 2017.
The 3 test matches will be played from Dec 26, 2016 and the series will be taken forward in the new year till Jan 16. The T20 matches will take place from Jan 20 - Jan 25, and the ODIs will be played from Jan 28 till Feb 10.
Read ahead for our prediction, betting odds and team analysis for the South Africa vs Sri Lanka test series.
AB de Villiers has stepped aside as the captain due to his elbow injury, and Faf du Plessis has been handed over the role for the test side. Apart from him, the one batsmen that the team will be looking up to is Quinton de Kock, who performed brilliantly against Australia in the recent tour. Hashim Amla might not have been in the best form this year, but is still an excellent batsmen and can hopefully deliver a big innings.
Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, and Rilee Rossouw are out for the series due to injuries. Wayne Parnell will be making a comeback after recovering from a rib injury. The bowling side also includes Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott. The bowling side of the South African team will surely miss Dale Steyn who is not likely to come back before mid 2017, but still has strong players who are capable of taking up a lot of wickets.
Faf du Plessis(c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada,
Angelo Mathew will be the captain for the test series. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva are set to take up the opening partnership and will hopefully score big. Kusal Perera is likely to come in at the third position and Kusal Mendes at the fourth. Both batsmen have been in a good from lately. Upul Tharanga made it to the team because of his good performance in the Zimbabwe tour. The Sri Lankan batting side seems pretty strong and could most easily be the successful part of the team.
Fast bowler Vikum Sanjaya gets to play with the team for the first time in this series, after his brilliant performance in the U-19 and domestic matches. Along with him, the bowling side will be adding more new players, namely Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, and Suranga Lakmal. Dilruwan Perera is the added spinner who is in a good from, and Dinesh Chandimal will be the wicket-keeper. The bowling side has some good players, also new ones going against South Africa, and a lot will be expected from them in this series.
Angelo Mathews(c), Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Vikum Sanjaya.
Sri Lanka are coming from a series win on their Zimbabwe tour and will be pumped up to take on South Africa, but it will be difficult for them to go against such a strong team. Their batting is their strong suit which could hopefully gain them some advantage, their odds being 19.00 with bet365 and 8 with betfair. South Africa, on the other hand are a strong side but missing some key players which could affect their team performance. They have some big players nonetheless, who can lead the team to victory, their odds being 1.083 with bet365 and 1.06 with betfair. The odds of the match ending up in a draw are 10.00 with bet365 and 6.6 with betfair.
Both teams have played 5 test matches in the last 5 years, and South Africa has won 3 of them. South Africa will be looking to win the series with a 3-0 win, and they have the advantage of playing at home. Even though they are missing some important players in this series, South Africa still have a pretty strong team, with efficient players who are more than capable of grabbing the series. Sri Lanka have a strong batting side but might struggle a bit with its bowlers, as a few names have been added to the international side for the first time. Nevertheless, the team can give a tough competition to the hosts.
South Africa have a strong team in both their batting and bowling departments and are likely to have an upper hand against Sri Lanka in this test series.