Steyn closes in as Is­lan­ders face nervy wait

Sport360 - - News - By Ashish Peter b @Ashish_peter284 * ashish­peter@sport360.com

Life with­out AB de Vil­liers will be­gin for South Africa on Thurs­day when they take on hosts Sri Lanka at Galle in the first of two Test matches (08:30 start).

Both teams come into the series off the back of im­pres­sive re­sults with the Proteas hav­ing de­mol­ished Aus­tralia 3-1 at home while the Sri Lankans fought back valiantly to draw the re­cent three-Test series in the West Indies 1-1.

Faf du Plessis’s men are the No.2 ranked Test out­fit in the world and will look to re­peat the trick from their pre­vi­ous two-match Test tour to the Is­lands back in 2014, where they tri­umphed 1-0.

All eyes will be on whether Dale Steyn is handed a spot in the play­ing XI, with the pacer re­turn­ing to the squad for the first time since in­jur­ing him­self in the first Test against In­dia at the start of the year.

While spin might be the way to go in the sub­con­ti­nent, South Africa coach Ot­tis Gib­son has in­sisted that his squad will look to play to their strengths by lin­ing up with three quicks. If his words are any­thing to go by, Steyn, Kag­iso Rabada and Ver­non Phi­lan­der could make up South Africa’s pace bat­tery with Lungi Ngigi be­ing the un­for­tu­nate bowler to miss out.

If Steyn in­deed plays, he will be look­ing to over­haul Shaun Pol­lock to be­come the high­est Test wick­et­taker for South Africa. The 35-yearold is cur­rently two wick­ets shy of Pol­lock’s tally of 421 vic­tims.

Sri Lanka are sweat­ing over the avail­abil­ity of skip­per Di­nesh Chandi­mal for the Test. Chandi­mal, coach Chandika Hathu­rus­ing- ha and man­ager Asanka Gu­rus­inha ad­mit­ted to con­duct that is con­trary to the spirit of the game in the re­cent tour of the West Indies when they re­fused to take to the field ow­ing to ball-tam­per­ing al­le­ga­tions.

Sus­pen­sions could be handed out if they are found guilty of the level 3 of­fence at a hear­ing.

Charg­ing in again: Pacer Dale Steyn.

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