About the Match
South Africa made history when they emphatically won the ODI series against hosts Sri Lanka 2-1 to lift the trophy on Saturday after a thrilling victory by 82 runs. The Lankans, failing to chase a massive 340 runs, suffered a humiliating defeat and will now go into the 2-match test series that begins on 16th July at Galle with stronger determination. The visitors, who are riding on a wave of success after registering their first ever one-day series victory at Sri Lanka, will be surely pumped up to do well again and come out all guns blazing.
After a disappointing finish to the one-day series, the team will be focused on starting the upcoming test match on a positive note brushing aside their worries; they will draw energy from their recent test series victory against England on their away tour and will strategize well with the resources on hand. Mendis and Herath have been in good form and will get good support by Suranga Lakmal; Eranga, who was on fire against the English, will be eager to do well on home turf as well and is a great asset to the side with his pace attack. On the batting front, stalwarts like Sangakkara and Jayawardene have a lot to offer and the captain Angelo Mathews has time and again led from the front when it comes to getting the runs on board. Thirimanne struggled in the recent test series but got some runs during the shorter format of the game at home; if he can keep his nerves together, he will surely be a good support in the middle order. Upul Tharanga, Dilruwan Perera, Kaushal Silva and Dinesh Chandimal will give depth to the batting line-up and the youngsters will be eager to prove themselves here.
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers have struck gold so far, with each getting centuries in different ODI games and are in good shape to take on the Lankan bowling attack; Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and Alviro Petersen are strong batsmen and will bring their experience and skills to the table. Overall, the South African side has a long batting line-up that can do well under the most critical conditions. Imran Tahir has emerged to be the most dependable bowler of the team getting crucial wickets and turning the match in their favour many a times; Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell are a deadly combination that can cause major upsets to the opposition and with support from Kyle Abbott, Duminy, Dane Piedt, Stiaan van Zyl and Plessis, who can bring in their bowling variations this bowling squad can definitely throw up a storm and surprise the Lankans. With new found success, the players have received a major confidence boost and this will be a difficult side to beat.
The home side will be under a lot of pressure to perform here and they will need to focus on getting their strategies right against the opponents. While the match promises to provide many thrills and will be a well-fought contest by both sides, South Africa seems to have a slight edge over the hosts in terms of variety and looks better placed to win the first match.
South Africa, 3.60 @ Bet365