Sri Lanka Use Granite Surfaces To Train For South Africa Series

December 11, 2016

Sri Lanka have received a massive boost ahead of their tour of South Africa where they are scheduled to play three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals. Angelo Mathews, who has recovered from a leg injury and Dinesh Chandimal, who recovered from a broken hand, will return to the squad, providing a much-needed boost to their batting unit, which the skipper hopes will lend stability to the side - a factor that has yielded results for South Africa in the last few years.

"Except for one or two changes, they (South Africa) are pretty much a settled team for the past four-five years," Mathews said on Saturday(December 10). "They have been going with the same sort of players, maximum 20. They have managed a set combination and now the results are showing. The settled combination is the one that has led to their success today.

"We are now doing the same, we talked about it a lot. The solution is not to chop and change but be patient with the players," the Sri Lankan skipper added.

However, in order to get the combination right to the extent of garnering long-term success, both batting and bowling need to be in tandem, something which is currently skewed in the Sri Lankan Test side. While the bowlers have been more than consistent and dependable, it has been the batting which has let them down. Ahead of the team's departure for South Africa, the Sri Lankan skipper thus, emphasised on the need for his batsmen to step up by getting runs in tough conditions, which would give his bowlers a fair chance."With Dushmantha Chameera coming back into the team and young Vikum Sanjaya earning his spot, we have got a fairly decent pace attack which can put them under pressure, but we need to score runs as a batting unit," Mathews said. "It's going to be our main challenge; the boys have worked extremely hard in the past few weeks."

As part of their preparation for the series, the team went to the extent on batting on granite surfaces in order to extract the extra bounce to prepare themselves for what might lie ahead. "The pace the boys are used to, it's just the the bounce and the conditions that we need to get used to," Mathews said. "We used a lot of granite stuff, especially the batters. When you use a piece of granite, the ball is coming on to you quicker. The granite is laid down on the pitch and you can throw the ball on it so that it comes on quicker.

"We've done everything possible to try and counterattack the South African fast bowlers and get used to their conditions. We have about 12 days before we play our first Test on Boxing Day. We'll try and use those days to the maximum so that we get things right."

While Sri Lanka are coming from a 2-0 win in Zimbabwe, South Africa themselves are coming off a great 2-1 win against Australia. Mathews, however, wants to set the scoreline of their tour to South Africa right, having lost their last series 1-2 there in 2011-12.

"Most of the teams do well and win at home but struggle overseas. It happens to any team but we want to try and achieve some wins overseas and turn the tables," Mathews said. "I am confident that my team can do it. We got a good combination where we have five fast bowlers, two experienced spinners and a solid batting order."

Sri Lanka begin their tour with a three-day warm-up game in Potchefstroom ahead of the first Test on December 26 in Port Elizabeth. The second Test and third Test will be played in Cape Town and Johannesburg from January 2 and January 12 respectively.


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