About the Match
With an emphatic victory over the English in their recent tour in all formats of the game, Sri Lanka is riding high with enthusiasm and a determination to succeed against the visitors, South Africa in a 3-match ODI series, the first of which starts on 6th July at Colombo. While the home team will look to causing havoc on the opponents by way of their batting skills and spin magic, the Proteas too are not far behind and will try to live up to their present overseas record. Presently, Sri Lanka is positioned 3rd in the ICC ODI rankings while South Africa is at a close 4th; it will be interesting to see the two sides fighting it out to maintain an upper hand right from the beginning of the tournament.
The squad sees some changes in its composition after its return from the England tour, with Dinesh Chandimal and Chaturanga de Silva being replaced by batsmen Vithanage and Upal Tharanga, who had not featured in the one-day series overseas but will try to make a contribution here at home. Captained by Angelo Mathews, who leads from the front, the team has stalwarts like Mahela Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan, all-rounders such as Thisara Perera, Senanayake, Priyanjan, Thirimanne and Mathews himself. The bowling attack will be sharp with Suranga Lakmal making a comeback after an injury, Lasith Malinga, Senanayake and Mendis, who were brilliant in recent matches; Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Priyanjan and Mathews who are in-form and will look to add depth with their precision. Overall, the bowlers have great capabilities to surprise their opponents and change the game to their advantage at any time while the batsmen have superior talents to frustrate the opposition and dominate at all times; it’s a tough team to beat on home turf.
While the team has deadly speedsters in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell and Beuran Hendricks, who can scalp wickets and demolish the opponents with their pace, they only have Imran Tahir as an established spinner. They need to bring in variations with the ball and can certainly explore options like Duminy and Plessis, who have proven their abilities as all-rounders; the team lacks in spin options but can make up for it with their excellent fielding performances. In the batting front, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller and the young Quinton de Kock bring their sharp skills to the table but they need to be cautious against the Lankan spin attack, and not lose too many wickets early on. The Proteas will find it tough to handle the home team, especially in their own backyard but need to be patient and determined here.
The last time they were here, South Africa had suffered a humiliating ODI series defeat against the home side; are they better prepared this time around, is something that only time can tell. Though the visitors are a motivated lot, the Lankans will be too hot to handle, thanks to their recent performances and we feel the home team will score the first win on Sunday.
Sri Lanka, 1.72 @ Titan Bet