SOUTH AFRICA TOUR OF SRI LANKA, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Sri Lanka’s seam bowling future looks good, according to Roshen Silva. © Getty
Roshen Silva believes the tour of West Indies has helped them prepare for the challenge of facing the South African pacers at home in the two-Test series. While spin is still likely to dominate the series, the Sri Lankan batsmen will also have to tackle the pace challenge that Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Lungi Nigidi and Dale Steyn will create.
Sri Lanka lost the opening Test in Trinidad but went on to dominate the remaining two Tests and levelled the series 1-1. They had their backs against the wall in the final Test after getting shot down for just 154 in the first innings. The batsmen then went on to produce a promising performance in chase of 144 to seal a four-wicket win.
“Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander will be a huge challenge, but the toughest series for me was the one in the West Indies,” Silva said on the eve of the first Test on Wednesday (July 11). “You can see how tough it is there given how Bangladesh have struggled there since.
“They kept a lot of grass on the pitches for the last two Tests there. There was also the challenge of having to face the pink ball under lights when it moves a lot. On top of which there had been wind as well. It was a really tough challenge. We have been working on playing reverse swing because South Africa have bowlers who bowl fast.”
While Sri Lanka will still bank on Rangana Herath to produce the goods, like he so often has, they will also be buoyed by the performance of their pacers in West Indies. Suranga Lakmal was exceptional in the final Test while Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara too chipped in with crucial performances.
“We realized in West Indies that we had good fast bowlers,” gushed Silva. “Lahiru Kumara bowls at 148kmph, Suranga Lakmal can move the ball, and Kasun Rajitha also did well. The future of our seam bowling looks good.”
After the first Test in Galle, the two teams will move to Colombo for the second Test. The two teams will then play a five-match ODI series and a one-off T20I clash.