This will be the final T20I match both these teams play before next month’s T20 World Cup. Thus, after this, there will be more than a month-long period of inactivity for both the sides.
If this is not a depressing enough thought, how about the fact that South Africa have already sealed the series 2-0, rendering tomorrow’s match a dead rubber, which almost always is a low intensity affair and never fun to cover.
Sri Lanka have themselves to blame for already surrendering the series. They won the ODI series 2-1 but have been outplayed in the T20I matches, losing the first by 28 runs and the second by nine wickets.
Losing at home to an opponent that is not quite a top side in the same format as the upcoming World T20 should be a worrying sign for the Lankans.
As is often the case with the islanders, their batting failed them in the second T20I. The entire team got bundled out for just 103 as South African spinners ran riots.
Getting tricked by South African spinners on home soil will have to be the lowest of lows for the Sri Lankans, who appear to have fallen in a hole they themselves dug.
The clinching of series and the prospect of a pre-World Cup whitewash in difficult away conditions must boost the morale in South Africa camp, and it already has, with spinner Tabraiz Shamsi saying: “South Africa not as bad as people think.”
After losing the ODI series 2-1, the Proteas must have wanted this. They have been the better side and pack more talent, and it showed in the two matches they have won in the T20I series so far.
Their spin has been superb over this sequence and batting reliable.
In the last game, their spin quartet led by Shamsi but also featuring Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram and Bjorn Fortuin combined for eight of the 10 wickets and gave Sri Lankans another taste of their own medicine.
Tomorrow’s game being a dead rubber should provide the Proteas with an opportunity to try untried, or less tried options. Alternatively, they could also retain the same line-up to further solidify their combinations.