PORT ELIZABETH – South Africa, trailing in the series, won the toss and decided to bat in the second Test against Sri Lanka at St George's Park on Thursday.
South Africa brought in all-rounder Wiaan Mulder, who will make his debut in place of the injured Vernon Philander.
“He offers a real good balance to our Test team, not only for this match but for the future,” said captain Faf du Plessis. “Hopefully this will be the start of a great career.”
South Africa need to win to square the two-match series after Sri Lanka's surprise one-wicket win in the first Test in Durban. Sri Lanka named an unchanged team.
Du Plessis said his decision to bat was based on what he thought was a typical St George’s Park pitch.
“It will be probably be quite soft on day one. There is quite a bit of grass but it looks like it's going to be a good day for batting.”
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne said he would have chosen to bowl if he had won the toss.
“There is some moisture and the first few hours it will not be easy to bat. The new ball will be key,” he said.
Karunaratne said it had been a good win in Durban.
“But we start from zero. The boys are looking forward to playing in this game,” he said.
The teams are:
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wkt), Dhananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando.
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Ian Gould (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIN)
Agence France-Presse (AFP)