South Africa and Sri Lanka both have the opportunity to put an end to unwanted records when they clash in the second Test at Kingsmead in Durban on Monday.
The hosts have not won a home series since they beat Bangladesh 2-0 in 2008 while they have lost three consecutive Tests at Kingsmead.
Sri Lanka have suffered a wretched run of form in Test cricket and have not won in 15 matches, with their last victory coming against India in Galle in July 2010 in what was to be off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan’s last Test match.
The Proteas will take a lot of confidence into the second Test after securing a thumping innings and 81-run victory in the first Test and the home side will be anxious to nail down the series before the third and final Test in Cape Town.
Proteas batsman Ashwell Prince said that complacency may have been the reason for the Proteas’ recent inability to win home series.
“We’ve had a few opportunities in the last few series to put them away and for some reason or other we haven’t been able to do that. Perhaps there has been a bit of complacency when we have been in good positions,” Prince told a news conference.
“But we have another opportunity and hopefully we can kill it off before we go to Newlands,” he added.
South Africa’s vice-captain AB de Villiers said that the Proteas’ poor record at Kingsmead is something that the team is well aware of and will be doing its utmost to rectify.
“We haven’t been playing good cricket here [Kingsmead] of late. We want to turn that around and win a few games here, and win this Test match. It’s something that we have talked about,” said De Villiers.
Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara felt that his team could draw confidence from South Africa’s poor record at Kingsmead.
“Every Test is an opportunity for us to change things around and we need to change it around now,” said Sangakkara.
“Losing, like winning, can become a habit. For us to go into this Test match, knowing that South Africa doesn’t have a great record here, is good but it us up to us to deliver.”
Sri Lanka endured a miserable time with the bat in the first Test in Centurion, being shot out for 180 and 150 in their two innings, and talk out of the tourists’ camp is that wicketkeeper/batsman Dinesh Chandimal will make his Test debut in Durban in place of Causal Silva.
The 22-year-old Chandimal has played in 17 one-day internationals and has scored two centuries in that format, including a match-winning 105 not out against England at Lord’s in July this year.
“I think he is one of the fine youngsters that we have found over the last few years,” Sri Lanka’s captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said.
“We have discussed giving him a Test debut and he can gain some valuable experience by playing against South Africa’s attack. Personally I think he is good for the team and he can be groomed for the future.”
The visitors took a physical and mental battering during their heavy defeat at Centurion and Sangakkara said that it was vital that he and his team mates were in the right mental state for the second Test.
“The difference between the best performing teams and the ones chasing them is probably the mental side of things. It is not skill or technique but being tough when the pressure is on,” he said. — Reuters