Injury-hit South Africa were on Monday boosted by the news that veteran all-rounder Shaun Pollock will arrive in Sri Lanka later this week following the birth of his second child.
The 33-year-old will reach here on Thursday, missing the first of the two Test matches which starts at the Sinhalese sports club (SSC) the same day, team spokesman Gordon Templeton said.
Pollock, however, will have enough time to acclimatise to the hot and humid weather in the Sri Lankan capital before he takes the field in the second Test at the Sara stadium from August 4.
The tourists, led by their first non-white captain Ashwell Prince, need Pollock's experience to tackle the formidable hosts in the absence of regular captain Graeme Smith and leading all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
Smith was ruled out of the six-week tour, which also includes a limited-overs tri-series with India, when he suffered an ankle injury earlier this month.
Kallis is still recovering from a tennis elbow injury and remains uncertain for the ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament to be held in India in October-November.
Pollock's wife Trish gave birth to the couple's second daughter Georgia in Durban on Friday and is expected to leave hospital later on Monday, Templeton said.
Pollock had also missed a Test match when his first daughter Jemma was born during the fourth Test against England in 2003.
"There was never a chance that Shaun could have arrived in time for the first Test," said Templeton. "But he will be here for the second game and also the one-day series."
Pollock, a veteran of 101 Tests, is South Africa's most successful Test bowler and needs six more wickets to reach the coveted 400 mark. He has also scored 3,444 runs.
Pollock has toured Sri Lanka twice before in 2000 and 2004, taking 21 wickets in five Tests at 21.00 apiece with a best of 4-48 at Galle in 2004.
Makhaya Ntini and Andre Nel will lead South Africa's pace attack in the first Test on the SSC wicket regarded as the most suitable in the country for fast bowlers.
The Sara stadium, where Pollock will make a comeback, has a slower wicket that favours spin bowling.
Sri Lanka take the field after a successful tour of England where they fought back to draw the Test series 1-1 and then blanked the hosts 5-0 in the one-dayers.
Mahela Jayawardena will captain Sri Lanka in the absence of Marvan Atapattu, who has yet to recover from a back injury.
The tri-series will be played in Colombo from August 14-29.