2nd Test: Sri Lanka vs South Africa
In a spell of action which shocked most sports betting fans, the Proteas were bowled out for a meagre 73 as the hosts sealed a 278-run victory.
If you studied the us tips or the Sri Lanka vs South Africa betting odds, such a convincing victory simply wasn’t expected.
Now in the second and final test, can South Africa make amends or are Sri Lanka on course for another field day?
Welcome to Colombo!
Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath effectively cleaned up in the second session of the first test to which the build-up had been full of talk of the spin challenge and a ball-tampering controversy.
The Proteas, however, were once again undone by the spin, with Perera taking six wickets and Herath scooping up the remainder.
It was left to Lakshan Sandakan to take the final wicket of Tabraiz Shamsi as the tourists were bowled out for 73.
The main talking points now surround whether there could be a repeat or if South Africa can bounce back from what was an embarrassing defeat—one which saw them fail to register 200 runs across two innings, their lowest total since readmission.
Although the bowling unit gave a decent account of themselves—Kagiso Rabada was able to take seven wickets in the match—there are naturally concerns around the batting unit after not one of the batsmen managed to cross the 50-mark.
With a playing surface in Colombo said to be similar to that of Galle, it will be fascinating to see how South Africa adapt and if they can be more resilient.
Management will also have noticed the Sri Lankan batsmen were more comfortable facing seam than they were against the ‘twins of spin’, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Shamsi was a potential doubt for this test after briefly leaving the squad for personal reasons, but the wrist-spinner is now back and will undoubtedly start.
Nonetheless, the hosts will again be without regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal who was banned after being found guilty of ball-tampering.
He will also miss the first four one-day internationals against the Proteas.
Of course it wasn’t just Chandimal who was punished.
Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha were all given eight suspension points by an independent Judicial Commissioner following a marathon six-hour hearing over video link on the eve of the first test—a ruling which made their performance over the following days even more impressive.
All three had already pleaded guilty to a level three offence of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.” That after refusing to take to the field on the third day of the second Test against West Indies, after umpires informed Chandimal he had been charged with ball tampering.
They will be eligible to return to the team for the fifth and final ODI in Colombo on August 12, with a one-off T20 at the same venue two days later; however, the scene for the summer will likely have been firmly set by that time.
In Chandimal’s absence, it’s likely Dimuth Karunaratne will be the key man for hosts in the second test once more, particularly in such prolific form. The opening batsman hit 158 not out and 60 in the respective first-test innings, although it should be noted he will need support from others.
Another talking point is provided by the comments of South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis who spoke out against the toss system after his side’s crushing setback in Galle.
Until Galle last week, South Africa had a slight upper hand. Indeed, of the 12 previous tests between the sides in Sri Lanka, South Africa had won three and lost four.
The most recent head-to-head encounters between the nations in this format came in South Africa a year and a half ago, over the Christmas/New Year period in 2016/17. The Proteas secured a clean sweep back then, winning all three encounters comprehensively.
The Proteas were last in Sri Lanka in 2014 when they triumphed in a two-match series 1-0. After a first test victory—also in Galle—by 153 runs, they drew the second match in Colombo.
What are the odds?
As the action turns to the Sinhalese Sports Club, Sri Lanka are slight favourites with 1X2 odds on them available at 2.00 and South Africa priced at 2.70. You can also get the draw at 4.00 which has a certain attraction.
The us Asian Handicap sports betting options follow a similar path, with Sri Lanka priced at 0.00 @ 1.71 and the South African tourists 0.00 @ 2.17.
It’s certainly all to play for!
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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