Cape Town – The
temptation to shake the selection bag will be … well, thereabouts. But
crucially, perhaps, not actually “there”.
difficult, especially from afar, to try to read the minds of Proteas head coach
Ottis Gibson and his closest aides.
largely to a winning formula may just eclipse (it so often does in these
circumstances) any thoughts of significantly altering the personnel for experimentation
purposes for Wednesday’s second one-day international against Sri Lanka in
Africa’s strategists could be forgiven for leaning toward continuity,
considering the tonic that the five-wicket triumph in game one of the
five-match series was – coming in the wake of the earlier Test series
humiliation featuring some of the same, cross-over personnel.
will be the same, but the atmosphere slightly different as it is a day-night
affair on this occasion (11:00 start, SA time).
year’s World Cup in England in mind, the Proteas have already indicated quite
clearly that there will be plenty of “fiddling” with combinations over the next
But with the
opportunity to get within a whisker of securing the series should they prevail
again for a 2-0 lead, widespread changes to the XI appear unlikely at this
After all, a
dead-rubber match or two -- if that ideal can be realised by the tourists -- would
be the perfect environment to blood a couple of their more rookie, presently
peripheral members of the 15-strong party.
Klaasen, who had shown clean-striking promise in the heavy home series reverse
to India last summer, has reportedly been nursing a groin niggle, but if he is
ready for action he may be the only tweak to the combination, finding a place
somewhere in the front six.
pitch looks especially receptive to turn – the first one was surprisingly, agreeably
more “South African” in nature – first-choice Test spinner Keshav Maharaj will
perhaps simply remain in feet-up mode for the moment after his marathon,
fatiguing exploits in the five-dayers, and Tabraiz Shamsi left to build on his
four-wicket success in the first ODI.
two peripheral figures right now are fast bowler Junior Dala and opening
batsman Reeza Hendricks, both of whom have already tasted Twenty20
international duty for the country but not yet the rigours of ODIs.
All of JP
Duminy (in particular), Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock of the staple,
frontline batsmen got a morale-lifting head of steam at the crease in the first
clash, so their presences seem close to assured for the immediate follow-up --
“form” batsmen haven’t exactly fallen from the trees for the Proteas on the
broader tour thus far.
Now it is
just about getting a similar hike in productivity out of Hashim Amla, Aiden
Markram and David Miller.
player is a special concern, perhaps: the young Titans stroke-player already
sports three ducks from all matches on the tour and a less than heady top score
of 19 in the Galle Test.
struggling to pick the premier Sri Lankan spinners and Gibson and company will
be aware of the fine balance involved in hoping he comes good, against the
counter-threat of him only getting into a deeper rut and incurring mental
scarring of sorts.
the back problem experienced by blue-chip strike bowler Kagiso Rabada ahead of
the tour, the Proteas management must also be on full alert for any new signs
of over-bowling him.
clearly loved operating on the suddenly responsive strip laid out in the first
ODI, sending down a few true snorters en route to his analysis of four for 41,
and it would probably require a brave individual to tell him he was going to be
tethered for the second fixture.
he will be winning his 50th cap if he turns out in this one.
later in the series, though, he will almost certainly need to be given a
“rotational” rest or two with longer-term goals in mind.
statistical history is an ally to the Proteas as they seek to triumph at
Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium for a second time in four days.
because Sri Lanka have now lost six completed ODIs on the trot at the venue … since
their last victory back in 2014, these have come against Australia (twice),
Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and then SA last Sunday.
There is one
no-result in between.
outlook is reasonably promising, based on Tuesday’s forecasts, with a small
chance only of a rogue, light shower during the match.
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