South Africa have won the series against Sri Lanka  by margin of 2-0 © Getty Images
South Africa have won the series against Sri Lanka by margin of 2-0 © Getty Images

Dominant South Africa are all set to clean sweep the fragile Sri Lanka side in the final Test at The Wanderers in Johannesburg that starts on Thursday. After a dramatic week that comes to an end for the Proteas with players retiring prematurely to sign Kolpak deals, the focus shifts to Hashim Amla. He will be the eighth South African to join the elite group of AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Gary Kirsten, Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher and Shaun Pollock, who have completed 100 Tests. South Africa comfortably won the first two matches at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town by 206 and 282 runs respectively. Most of the runs flowed from centurions Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock. As with the ball, South Africa’s pacer Kagiso Rabada was exceptional.

However, captain Faf du Plessis has task on hand to find suitable replacement for his missing member Kyle Abbott, who left the side bagging a Kolpak deal. Duanne Olivier is in contention, but Wayne Parnell will be itching to showcase his skills in Abbott’s absence. The pitch that assist fast bowlers, could pose threat to Sri Lanka batsmen, who have not been able to impose themselves so far. And now with the rains in lead-up as well, South Africa are contemplating on their bowlers.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test at Johannesburg

Top-order: There is no doubt that Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar will begin the proceedings for South Africa in the final Test. Cook kept the hopes alive in the first Test with a fifty followed by a century, winning the Man of the Match. However, he failed to capitalise in the second Test with just 30 runs to his name. On the other hand, Dean Elgar has been at the top this series with a century and two fifties averaging 70.25. Elgar was very much in contention for Man of the Match in the second Test for his career-best score of 129 in the first innings, had it not been for Rabada’s brilliance once again.

Joining these batsmen at No. 3 is man of the moment Amla  has gone through a rough patch over the past few months and he will look to make amends on this momentous occasion.

Middle-order: After a good start at Durban, the new No.4 batsman JP Duminy has not got going. 63, 25, 30 and 0 have been the scores of this fashionable batsman who can play full range of shots. Duminy saw a mixed performance in the second Test after a decent start in the first. He fell for a duck in the second innings and will want to erase off the second Test performance before heading for the final one.

Captain Faf du Plessis enters at No. 5. Apart from leading his team from the front, du Plessis has played the anchor’s role  with the bat through the series building crucial partnerships. He will aim to look repeat the instance of 2013 in Johannesburg when he scored a hundred against India.

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Bavuma, whose game is built on finesse and patience, saw below average performance from him. He will want to make use of this opportunity to count for covering up for the runs he missed out in first two Tests.

At No. 7 is fearless Quinton de Kock, who is will play his maiden Test at the Wanderers. His brilliance extended in this series as well and he hammered a century in the first innings of the second Test. His glovework too has been brilliant.

Lower-order and bowling: Vernon Philander can provide the required push lower down the order if the top or middle-order fails to provide the required impetus. He has been exceptional with the ball, especially in the first Test with 6 wickets, wiping off the Sri Lanka batting line-up.

Keshav Maharaj might just find a spot in the final Test as South Africa might not want to go for all pace-attack, although the surface is tailor-made for pacers. Maharaj has proven his calibre with the bat on his debut at Perth and was effective with the bat in home appearances as well.

Apart from batting, he also got 4 wickets in the first and 3 in the second. Maharaj has performed well so far and may just go past the race against Duanne Oliver for a spot. With 10 wickets in the second Test, named Man of the Match, Rabada needs no introduction. He will continue to lead the attack with Philander.

Wayne Parnell has last played a Test in March 2014 and he took go past Oliver in the selection race. He recently picked a six-for for Cape Cobras and that should help his case. South Africa bowling coach Charl Langeveldt hinted the same.

South Africa Likely XI: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell/ Duanne Olivier