Five things that should be expected from the Proteas against Sri Lanka
South Africa's last visit to the Bullring early last year was a painful one because of Stuart Broad's second innings spell that blew the South African house down.
Sri Lanka's seamers‚ despite their honesty‚ hold no such terrors and these five things will be expected from the Proteas;
1) Wayne Parnell getting the ball to swing:
Wasim Akram redefined left-arm swing bowling in the late 1980's‚ putting pressure on everyone who remotely dabbled in the art.
Parnell has been bubbling under domestically and judging from his improving statistics‚ he may just provide the “ideal world” attack his captain Faf du Plessis is asking in the light of Kyle Abbott's Kolpak-enforced retirement.
While not in the Ben Stokes-class of all-rounders‚ a first-class hundred for the Cape Cobras in what could have been a potentially tricky chase against the Highveld Lions in Oudtshoorn this past weekend showcased his latent ability with the bat.
Here's a chance for him to state his case as the team's premier all-rounder.
2) 100 in 100th test for the Mighty Hash?
Hashim Amla's bad patch would have been further magnified if the team wasn't winning.
The relaxed nature of a dead rubber affords him the chance to join the likes of Colin Cowdrey (104)‚ Javed Miandad (145)‚ Gordon Greenidge (149)‚ Alec Stewart (105)‚ Inzamam-ul-Haq (184)‚ Ricky Ponting (120 and 143*) and Graeme Smith (131) as the only batsmen who have scored 100's in their 100th tests.
Class players like Amla tend to pick their moments to shrug off poor form to prove that class is permanent.
3) Three-day test on the cards:
Judging from how quickly Kagiso Rabada administered the last rites on the fourth morning of the second test‚ question marks swirled around whether Faf du Plessis should have enforced the follow-on‚ especially having taken a 282-run first innings lead‚ only to win by the same margin as Sri Lanka matched South Africa's second innings 224.
With Johannesburg having soaked up a fair amount of rain in the weekend before the test‚ a springy surface offering plenty of movement should be the order of the day.
That'll ask questions of Sri Lanka's batting resolve in an insignificant test.
4) Avoiding the loss of early first innings wickets:
Assured starts from Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook have been a trending theme in the series‚ but the Wanderers provides a challenge for openers like no other ground in the country.
Cook plays his domestic cricket there but it will be his first test at his home ground.
The rarefied atmosphere of a Wanderers does things to players‚ even though South African batsmen have generally done well at the ground once they've seen off the new ball.
Again‚ it's a dead rubber but the openers will be on international duty until the New Zealand tour. They'll want to sign off on a high.
5) Vernon Philander to relish a return to the Wanderers:
The last time Vernon Philander played at test at the Wanderers‚ it was the 2013 epic against India where he played a crucial role with both bat and ball to save the test.
Injury has played a massive part in Johannesburg absences but the ground has generally been profitable for him.
It was at the same ground where he picked up his 100th test wicket in the India game. His relentless accuracy has allowed him to go about his business quietly while Rabada has been blasting out batsmen with his pace.
It should not come as a surprise if he collects a five-wicket haul.
- TMG Digital