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Proteas set to dominate Sri Lankan Tests

By AAP Newswire

South Africa are expected to continue their recent dominance over touring sides when they host ailing Sri Lanka in a two-Test series starting on Wednesday at Kingsmead.

Their recent 3-0 sweep of Pakistan was South Africa's seventh-successive home Test series victory, a run that included a triumph over No.1-ranked India and a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka on their last tour in 2016/17.

Their supremacy has been built around a fierce fast-bowling attack and lively wickets, the opposite of the conditions they had faced in a 2-0 loss last July in Sri Lanka.

Although the Kingsmead pitch is likely to be slower and take more turn than in the past, the Proteas are overwhelming favourites against Sri Lanka, beaten 2-0 last month in Australia. They have not won a game in any format since October.

"Whichever team comes here, we're pretty much going to try to dominate them," Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj said.

"Every series you play, you want to be dominant and whitewash the opposition. Playing here, this should be our fortress."

Maharaj played the first Test against Pakistan but was dropped for the next two as selectors went for an all-seam attack.

He might have more of a role to play this series, which also includes a Test at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, a wicket which traditionally takes turn.

"At Kingsmead, it's not your swing and fast bowling wicket that we were used to 10 or 15 years ago. The wicket will wear down and slow down significantly, I would say. I think it's just a patience game at Kingsmead now."

Sri Lanka have arrived in disarray, having dropped experienced captain Dinesh Chandimal amid reported rifts between the board and coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who has been removed as an on-tour selector.

Hathurusingha acknowledges the series will depend on how his side handle South Africa's vaunted pace attack of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier.

"I'm relying on the players who have been with us. Dimuth Karunaratne is the captain, so he has to lead from the front," Hathurusingha told ESPNCricinfo.com.

"He's one of the best batters with Kusal Mendis. Him, Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella, who is in good form, have to stand up.

"Lahiru Thirimanne, who has come back into the team, has a lot of experience."