Sri Lanka in SA

SA a tough nut at Centurion

2011-12-13 07:51
Proteas (File)
Cape Town - Statistics show that Sri Lanka could face an uphill battle when they take on the Proteas in the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.

According to the Beeld newspaper, the South Africans have only lost one out of 16 Tests at the ground. That was in 2000 when SA captain Hansie Cronjé declared the home side's second innings on nought, which paved the way for a two-wicket victory for England. It was later believed that the game was rigged to determine a result.

Only three Tests have finished in a draw, with South Africa winning 12.

Sri Lanka have also lost all three their previous Test matches there. The Proteas won by six wickets in 1998, by an innings and seven runs in 2001 and by three wickets in 2002.

South Africa also won their last Test at the ground comfortably when they thrashed the then world No 1 India by an innings and 25 runs. That game will forever be remembered as the Test in which Jacques Kallis scored his maiden double hundred when he racked up 201 not out. It is the only double ton in Tests at SuperSport Park thus far.

And the groundsman, Hilbert Smit, said the key is to prepare a pitch suitable for the home side.

"You just have to try and advance the South African strong points without taking it too far. I believe there should be enough grass on, while the surface should be hard.

"It's also all about timing. You don't want the pitch to be ready two days before the Test but on the morning of the Test itself."

Smit said he always tries to leave something in the pitch for the bowlers on the first morning, but not too much.

He also strives for a pitch that keeps both captains guessing before the toss. "I like it when the captain who wins the toss has doubts about what he should do."

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