Du Plessis looks to negate Sri Lankan spin

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

South African cap­tain Faf du Plessis said he hoped a grassy St Ge­orge’s Park pitch would negate Sri Lanka’s spin threat in the first Test start­ing to­day. “There’s a lit­tle more grass on the wicket than might be nor­mal,” Du Plessis said in his pre-match press con­fer­ence. “That is mak­ing sure that we take their most dan­ger­ous player out of the game.”

Du Plessis was re­fer­ring to left-arm spin­ner Ran­gana Herath, Sri Lanka’s match-win­ner in their only vic­tory in 10 pre­vi­ous Tests in South Africa. Herath took nine wick­ets when Sri Lanka won in Dur­ban in 2011/12.

But Du Plessis said it was nor­mal for the St Ge­orge’s pitch to help the spinners in the lat­ter stages of a Test match.

“The pitch looks very dry and Sri Lanka brings a dif­fer­ent style of play to Aus­tralia (where South Africa won a se­ries last month). They have re­ally good spinners so our fo­cus has been on mak­ing sure we pre­pare for that.”

Du Plessis said he was look­ing for more con­sis­tency from the South African bats­men. “As a col­lec­tive bat­ting unit, each of our top seven has had good games and got hun­dreds but what we are look­ing for is more con­sis­tency and to push that bar a bit higher,” he said. Du Plessis added that South Africa could not af­ford to un­der­es­ti­mate their op­po­nents, de­spite their poor record in South Africa and them hav­ing a young, largely in­ex­pe­ri­enced team.

“Young guys can pose the same threat as more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, even more so some­times be­cause they bring some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

But he said he ex­pected South Africa’s pace bowlers to pose a chal­lenge to the tourists. “There should be enough in the pitch for the seam­ers,” he said. Sri Lankan cap­tain An­gelo Mathews, mean­while, said his team had pre­pared well and that the young bats­men in the side had stepped up to fill the gaps left by Ma­hela Jayawar­dene, Ku­mar San­gakkara and Til­lak­er­atne Dil­shan, who have all re­tired re­cently. — AFP

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