JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to bat in the third and final test against Sri Lanka on Thursday, a match that sees Hashim Amla earn his 100th cap for the home side.
The Wanderers wicket is expected to be seamer-friendly and with decent cloud-cover expected throughout the test, batsmen can expect a lively surface as South Africa look to complete a clean-sweep of the series.
South Africa have handed a debut to 24-year-old seamer Duane Olivier, the leading wicket-taker in domestic four-day cricket, in the place of spinner Keshav Maharaj.
All-rounder Wayne Parnell has also come in to replace seamer Kyle Abbott following the latter’s decision to take up a Kolpak contract with Hampshire.
Sri Lanka are unchanged for the test with captain Angelo Matthews saying he would have bowled in any event had he won the toss.
Amla becomes the eighth South African to play 100 tests but is struggling for form with the bat, having managed only 195 runs in his past five matches at an average a little above 22.
“As a team, we are very proud of him, it’s a big day for him,” Du Plessis said.
”Hashim being Hashim doesn’t want anything special, it’s just another test match for him. It will be nice to see him have a great day and score big runs, we are 100 percent behind him, he is a great player for us.
”He has been the most consistent player, with Jacques Kallis, that South Africa has ever had. I think he has had two lean patches in his career, it feels like I can go through a lean patch anytime but with Hashim it just doesn’t happen.
“Although he isn’t scoring as many runs at the moment, what he brings off the field still offers a lot.”
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (wicketkeeper), Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Rangana Herath, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien