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22-Jul-2014 07:09:00 GMT
Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd Test, Colombo

South Africa Aim to Win First Series in Sri Lanka

Colombo: An upbeat South Africa will look to carry their winning momentum in the second Test against Sri Lanka beginning on Thursday, and break a 21-year-old jinx in Sri Lanka.

The Proteas, the current world number two, have not won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993 when they first toured the country and beat the hosts 1-0.

On their next three tours, they won one Test while losing two series and drawing one.

But a new dawn seems to be beckoning for the visitors after they won the first Test in Galle on Sunday by 153 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, and hand Hashim Amla a winning start to his captaincy.

Hashim Amla, 31, was named captain last month following the retirement of Graeme Smith who led the Proteas in a record 109 Tests.

Amla's debut leadership was unconventional and daring, evident in the way he declared the innings at tea on the fourth day rather than take the safer option of batting out the last session.

It meant the hosts needed to score 370 runs in four sessions to win the match.

At one point, it appeared the game was slipping away from South Africa but fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel ripped through the top order on the fifth day morning to ensure a well-deserved win.

Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews conceded that Steyn would be a big factor in Colombo.

"Steyn is an unbelievable bowler, any captain would love to have a guy like him in his side," he said.

The other concern for Mathews, apart from Steyn, was the middle order that has failed to click, even in the preceding one-dayers which South Africa won 2-1, their first ODI series win in Sri Lanka.

Mathews can rely on at least one player to come good with the bat in the decider -- Mahela Jayawardene has scored 10 hundreds at Colombo -- the most by any batsman at a single venue.

Jayawardene, 37, is due to retire next month after a two-Test series at home against Pakistan.

A victory at Colombo will see Amla's men reclaim the number one ranking they lost to Australia recently after two years at the top.

The last time South Africa played a Test series in Sri Lanka in 2006, they lost 2-0, but only three players from that tour are part of the current side.

Teams from

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad and Chanaka Welegedara.

South Africa: Hashim Amla (Captain) Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Stiaan van Zyl, Kyle Abbott and Dane Piedt.

Match facts
July 24-28, 2014
Start time 1000 local (0430 GMT)

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