South Africa bat, hand debut to Olivier


Toss South Africa won the toss and chose to bat v Sri Lanka
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Duanne Olivier was handed his South Africa Test debut © Getty Images

South Africa opted not to try and inflict immediate damage to Sri Lanka’s fragile batting order on a Wanderers surface considered among the fastest and bounciest in the world, instead taking first opportunity to bat on a slightly overcast morning in Johannesburg.

That meant Sri Lanka would be chasing the game for the third time in three Tests, although Faf du Plessis’ decision was slightly curious given that South Africa chose not to field a spinner, instead handing Duanne Olivier his debut as part of a four-man pace attack.

Olivier, uncapped in any format for South Africa, has 224 first-class wickets at 21.38, despite being just 24, and replaced Keshav Maharaj in the XI; Wayne Parnell also came in for Kyle Abbott, after his decision to take up a Kolpak deal in England.

Sri Lanka were unchanged, with Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara hoping to add to impressive tours, while trying to help stave off a whitewash.

The occasion of Hashim Amla’s 100th Test was marked before the toss with a presentation of a gold medal, commemorative plaque and shirt. He reaches the mark during a run of poor form, having not passed 50 in ten innings, but likely to get an early chance to rectify that situation.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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