Sri Lanka are eager to regain some pride after a dismal Test series when they start the limited-overs section of their tour with the first of three Twenty20 internationals on Friday. They will face an inexperienced South African team in the T20 series before playing the hosts in five one-day internationals. "Hopefully we can start afresh," said Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews after a 3-0 Test series whitewash which he said was the worst defeat of his captaincy.
All three Tests were played on pitches designed to help South Africa's fast bowlers but the tourists can look forward to more batsmen-friendly pitches, starting at SuperSport Park in Centurion this week. Sri Lanka will also be relieved not to face Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, the bowlers most responsible for their destruction in the Tests. Faf du Plessis, the Test and regular T20 captain, is among those rested, with batsman Farhaan Behardien taking over the captaincy.
"I understand that people would like to see the Proteas with their strongest team," said du Plessis. "But we are looking at the importance of certain formats in the next six to eight months, right now T20 is not as important as ODIs and Tests, so it is important to give guys some time to rest."