Sri Lanka Vs South Africa—With the Pakistan-New Zealand series and Border-Gavaskar Trophy underway, this series almost went under the radar. However, the importance of this series cannot be understated, especially after the abandonment of the England-South Africa ODI series.
Although short in nature, the series had its moments—Sri Lanka’s positive start, Faf Du Plessis’ 199, Elgar’s heroics, Temba’s hilarious/unfortunate walk, the Lankan injuries, and Nortje’s coming of age.
Here are my picks for the best moments, emerging players, and much more! COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.
Results – England Vs South Africa
Test Series: South Africa Win 2 – 0
* Player of Match
- South Africa won by an innings and 45 runs – Faf Du Plessis*
- South Africa won by 10 wickets – Dean Elgar*
|Player of Series||Sri Lanka||South Africa|
1-50, 1-100, 127 best
|Most Runs||Kusal Perera – 141 runs (4 innings)||Dean Elgar – 253 runs (3 innings)|
|Most Wickets||Vishwa Fernando – 8 wickets (3 innings)||Anrich Nortje – 11 wickets (4 innings)|
- Sri Lanka began the series with a complete team effort consisting of Chandimal’s 85, Dhananjaya de Silva’s 79, Dickwella’s 49, Shanaka’s 66* to get to 396, their highest ever in South Africa. In response, South Africa’s mammoth 621 was too much to save a match. Not even Kusal Perera could save the match with a 64, as he did with the best Test innings of all time in 2019.
- 31.1, 2.1, 28.5, 21.1, 6.5 read Sri Lanka’s bowling card in the first Test, with injured bowlers. Even captain Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis had to contribute 13.5 overs.
- Injuries were unfortunately the theme for Sri Lanka this tour. With 5 forced changes including Chandimal & Dhananjay de Silva (and Angelo Mathews injured pre-series), Perera’s 1st innings 60 and Karunaratne’s 103 were the only bright spots in the 2nd Test.
Honestly speaking, 0 tour matches, COVID uncertainty, and focus on Lanka Premier League was way too much for Sri Lanka’s longer format dreams.
- Faf Du Plessis has been through a lot in the last few years. Waited 7 years for a debut, heartbreak in the 2015 WC Semi-Final, led South Africa admirably, with everything collapsing in the 2019 World Cup. He has stayed and become the beacon of leadership, helping the Proteas transition to the next generation. His 199 in the 1st Test—so close, yet so far. In context though, a very important statement. Another couple of years for Faf?
- Dean Elgar had a brilliant series with a 95 & 127 in the 2 Tests. One of the best openers in tough conditions, his reputation continues to rise.
- SA began this series with an appalling statistic – first time in a few decades that all batsman averaged below 40. Yep, you read that correctly. All, even Faf, Elgar, and captain Quinton de Kock were on the wrong side of 40. With welcome performances from Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Rassie Van der Dussen, and even Keshav Maharaj, the batting looks decent for the near future. Still need to guide against collapses.
- In the absence of Rabada, Nortje rose to the occasion as the leader of the attack with a blistering 6-56. The supporting cast of Sipamla, Ngidi, and Wiaan Muldur chipped in with 10, 9, and 7 wickets respectively. Not quite Steyn-Morkel-Philander-Rabada, but these four displayed some potential for the future.
We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:
|South Africa||Sri Lanka|
|Emerging Player||Wiann Muldur||Dasun Shanaka’s Workload|
|Surprise Package||Batting Consistency||Vishwa Fernando|
|Broken Cricket Dream||Quinton de Kock (In a series where each player had a breakthrough performance, QDK was underpar)||Injuries Galore|
Who would have been your Emerging Player? Surprise Player? Broken Cricket Dream? Let us know below WITH COMMENTS! Also please share and subscribe below!
Where Do They Go From Here?
England left South Africa early due to COVID concerns. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa for a Test series tour. While the SL-SA series was going on, England already reached Sri Lanka to quarantine. So England’s been in Sri Lanka before the home team, while Sri Lanka are completing the series in South Africa.
Interesting how life works.
In the next couple of weeks, England-Sri Lanka are due for a 2-match Test series, while South Africa travel to Pakistan after a decade for a historic tour. In terms of the World Test Championship, England are ranked 4th (with tours of Sri Lanka & India coming up), SA a distant 5th, and SL down at 7th. Although the WTC provides context for the teams that are still in contention, it is the opposite for teams that suffer early losses. Widens the gap for the lower teams. Things to think about for the WTC.
Finally, Brexit is complete, Kolpak deals out of the window, & Kyle Abbott back with the Titans. If talent stream does not go to other places like the USA, South Africa might be stepping in the right direction.
Anyway, where do you think Sri Lanka and South African cricket go from here? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! Also feel free to share/discuss on our Twitter & Facebook pages!
Copyright (2021: 1/12/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – firstname.lastname@example.org