Sri Lanka will aim to put up a much better performance    Getty Images
Sri Lanka will aim to put up a much better performance Getty Images

It may have been South Africa all the way so far in this ongoing Test series, but Sri Lanka have not lost all hopes. Dhananjaya de Silva, who is among the three batsmen from the touring party to have accumulated more than 100 runs so far in this tour, believes that the pitch at Johannesburg does not seam as much as it did in the venues for the last two Tests. Sri Lanka are trailing 0-2 in the ongoing series, and a surprise victory in the final Test will only help them restore some pride and confidence heading into the limited-overs affairs.

South Africa have been the better side, which is the reason why they stand with the series in their kitty. Sri Lankans have been good while bowling, but their batsmen have remained uninspired and nervy against quality fast bowling a case that is identical in all Asian teams touring South Africa. So far, three centuries have been registered in the first two Tests and a few five-wicket hauls have been taken. While no Sri Lankan has scored higher than 73 in their innings, the bowlers have saved face with Suranga Lakmal taking 5 for 63 at Port Elizabeth and Lahiru Kumara taking 6 for 122 at Cape Town.

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

For the final Test, let us take a look at the possible key contests that may light up this Test:

Dean Elgar vs Suranga Lakmal: With 281 runs in 2 Tests, Elgar is averaging a little over 70 in this series. He scored 45 and 52 at Port Elizabeth and went on to notch up 129 and 55 in the second Test. Clearly, the best Sri Lankan bowler will have to take the responsibility of accounting for the best batsmen in the opposition camp. In the second Test, Lakmal bowled a marvellous spell of seam bowling which tested the South Africans to the hilt. But with Johannesburg conditions not being conducive to swing, Lakmal will be challenged with a huge task.

Hashim Amla vs Lahiru Kumara: Not exaggerating anything, but Lahiru belittled the defense of Amla at Cape Town, sneaking one in between his bat and pad. While Amla would be disappointed with that sort of dismissal, he would not want a repeat of any such embarrassment when he takes field in his 100th Test. Amla has averaged 24.25 poor by his standards so far in this series and he will be motivated to do well in his landmark Test. On the other hand, Lahiru will be keen to prove his success against such a class batsman was no flash in the pan.

Quinton de Kock vs Rangana Herath: It was de Kock s innings that took the contest away from Sri Lanka s reach in the second Test, and going into the final game, the tourists will not want any such repeat. While their most trusted campaigner in Rangana Herath has been reduced to a mere participant by South Africa s deliberate calls for non-turning tracks, the venerable bowler can be expected to have derived a way around the hurdles. It will be interesting to see what Herath can do against a flashy batsman such as de Kock.

Kagiso Rabada vs Angelo Mathews: If there is one batsman in the Sri Lankan ranks who can be expected to show resistance in most adverse conditions, it has to be their captain. After two Tests, Mathews is Sri Lanka s leading run-getter with 149 runs in 2 Tests at 37.25. Pitted against him will be South Africa s best bowler Kagiso Rabada, who is leading charts as far as taking wickets is concerned. Rabada against Mathews will be rollicking contest.