(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Keshav Maharaj has said South Africa are confident of dominating Sri Lanka in the upcoming two-Test series which begins in Durban on 13 February.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Co. are in for a stern Test from a bowling line-up that is too strong on paper with names like Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, and Duanne Olivier.
“Whichever team comes here we’re pretty much going to try and dominate them. Especially Sri Lanka, who were really dominant against us in Sri Lanka. Now they are in our conditions and hopefully we can put in a dominant display in the two Tests,” Keshav Maharaj said in the build-up to the first Test.
“Every series you play you want to be dominant and whitewash the opposition – for want of a better word. Playing here this should be our fortress. When people come here they should be on the back foot when they do take the field. But we’re taking nothing for granted, whoever our opponents are,” he added.
Although the series is billed as South Africa’s pace versus Sri Lanka’s batsmen, the left-arm spinner opined that the 22 yards at Kingsmead has changed over the years from the usual fast bowlers’ paradise to a pitch that slows down with time.
The visitors may well be happy to start the series on a pitch that is not really zippy, and can even take confidence from the fact that they beat South Africa the last time they played there.
“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. It’s a little bit slower than expected. But with the sun about, it may make the wicket harden up and get a little bit quicker than what we’re used to as well,” he explained.
South Africa have lost as many as six out of eight Tests in Durban in the last 10-years, with their only win coming against India in 2013. However, with Faf du Plessis and Co. winning seven successive Test series at home, Maharaj sounded very positive about winning the first game.
“Things do change, and the mindset changes. This Test unit is a different team from what we were on previous occasions playing at Kingsmead. I am confident we can get over the line and change the mindset that’s from the public, and from the players.”