Sri Lanka sends South Africa in to bat in 1st test

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — Sri Lanka won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat on what's predicted to be a bowler-friendly pitch in the first test in Durban on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka is on a run of three straight series defeats, has lost six of its last seven tests, and has an inexperienced team under new captain Dimuth Karunaratne for the first test in South Africa.

Batsman Oshada Fernando and left-arm spinner Lasith Ambuldeniya were picked to make their debuts at Kingsmead while quick bowlers Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha have played just seven tests between them. That means three of Sri Lanka's four bowlers in Durban are new to test cricket.

Sri Lanka's last series victory came at home against South Africa last July. Since then, it has lost at home to England and away to New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa swept Pakistan 3-0 last month for a seventh home series win in a row, moving up to No. 2 in the test rankings. Sri Lanka is ranked No. 6.

South Africa went with five specialist bowlers for the first of two tests, keeping its pace attack of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Duanne Olivier together. They were joined by slow left-armer Keshav Maharaj in the bowling attack. Batsman Theunis de Bruyn was dropped to make way for the extra bowler.

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Lineups:

South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Ambuldeniya.

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