Sri Lanka have won the toss and elected to bowl first in the first cricket test against South Africa at Kingsmead in Durban.

Sri Lanka arrived in some disarray, having dropped experienced captain Dinesh Chandimal and with media reporting there are rifts between the Board and coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who has been removed as an on-tour selector.

The Proteas have opted for six batsmen, four fast bowlers and a spinner with Vernon Philander to fullfil the all-rounder role, batting at number seven.

Their supremacy has been built around a fierce fast-bowling attack and lively wickets, the opposite of the conditions they faced when they lost 2-0 in Sri Lanka last July.

Whatever the nature of the wickets, Hathurusingha acknowledges that the series will depend on how his side handles South Africa’s vaunted pace attack that includes Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier.

“I’m relying on the players who have been with us. Dimuth Karunaratne is the captain, so he has to lead from the front,” Hathurusingha explains.

Their recent 3-0 sweep of Pakistan was South Africa’s seventh successive home test series victory, a run that included a triumph over number one ranked India and a 3-0 whitewash of the Sri Lankans on their last tour in the 2016/17 season.

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