Hindered by a flurry of injuries in the first Test, Sri Lanka failed to recreate the magic of their tour to South Africa in 2019. The visitors dominated the first day but things went downhill for them very quickly.
Now the two teams move to the Wanderers in Johannesburg for the second and final Test of the series. South Africa have Kagiso Rabada fit and is back into the squad. Though, as per their coach Mark Boucher, he might not be rushed into the XI.
On the other hand, as many as four Sri Lankan players are nursing an injury and might not be fit for the second Test. These include Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dinesh Chandimal and Suranga Lakmal. In addition to them, Dhananjaya de Silva has already been ruled out of the series. So keep an eye out on latest updates on these players or wait till the final XI is announced at the toss.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
As a sign of hope for Sri Lanka- among all the Test venues in South Africa since 2016, the hosts have the poorest record at the Wanderers. In the six games played here, they have won three and lost the others.
It is also the venue which has been most conducive for the pacers in the last decade, more so in the past five years. This is the venue where the pacers have had the best bowling average and balls per wicket record.
Moreover, with Rabada other pacers in the squad, the Proteas are mulling to go with an all-pace attack. So ensure to follow suit in your fantasy XI and include the wicket-taking pacers.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too.
The Sri Lankan skipper, Dimuth Karunaratne does not enjoy batting in South Africa. His average here after 12 innings is a mere 20.17, his lowest in any country. If there is one bowler he does not enjoys facing is Lungi Ngidi. He has all but 16 Test runs against the tall pacer who has dismissed him three times, thus reducing his average to 5.33 against him.
If he is in the XI, there is no better choice for the captain of your fantasy team for this Test than Kagiso Rabada. Since 2016, he is the joint-highest wicket-taker at the Wanderers with 24 Test scalps in five Tests. These have come at an impressive record of 36.9 balls per wicket. South Africa missed his experience in the first innings of the first Test. With a wicket every six over at the venue of the second Test, Rabada might not allow Sri Lanka any sniff from the get-go.
Among the players in the current South Africa squad, their skipper Quinton de Kock has the most runs at the Wanderers stadium since 2016 – 347 in five Tests. Moreover, he averages a healthy 51 against Sri Lanka at home in this time frame. Being a wicket-keeper he is bound to fetch more points. These stats make him an ideal choice for the vice-captain of your side.
When Sri Lanka toured here in 2019, Vishwa Fernando was the leading wicket-taker in the series with 12 scalps. Even in the first Test, while there was limited support for him from the other end, Fernando ended with three wickets. At the venue conducive for pacers, he is certain to make an impact.
No other player has scored more runs in South Africa since 2016 than Dean Elgar. He averages 44.6 against Sri Lanka at home in this period, the impact of which we saw in his innings of 95 runs in the first Test. He also averages a decent 33.8 in Johannesburg in six Tests since 2016.