About the Match
It wasn't history repeating for South Africa in the first ODI as they dominated hosts Sri Lanka this time around and won the match by 75 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match one-day series; their performance has been a stark contrast to last year’s tour and the Proteas excelled in all departments of the game. Sri Lanka will now face the visitors in the 2nd ODI on 9th July at Pallekele, to bounce back and keep the series alive; it will surely be a keen contest to watch with the home side being better prepared while South Africa tries to come out all guns blazing once again.
The captain had to toil hard to contain the protean batsmen, with his strategy to heavily depend on the spinners not working to full extent, failing to cause a dent on the opposition line-up. Providing the first break in the 13th over, Mathews struggled to restrict the visitors; Mendis was the most successful with 3-61 and Senanayake along with Mathews provided support to the bowling attack, but Amla and de Villiers had the last laugh with a 300+ score. With a target of 305, the team saw Kusal Perera, Sangakkara and Dilshan building strong partnerships and rotating strike to keep the scoreboard ticking; however, even Sangakkara’s 88 off 84 balls, and Dilshan and Perera’s opening stand of 50 runs couldn’t see the team through. The players struggled against Tahir’s spin and the speedsters bowling tactics, losing wickets regularly and unable to withstand the pressure to get all-out by the 41st over. The defeat must have come as a massive blow especially after the team’s tremendous show against England recently, but it will surely serve as an eye-opener to do better in the upcoming game.
Amla has been in good nick, as seen from his batting skills in the English county cricket matches recently, and he did well to serve his country by scoring a massive 109 off 130 balls to build a solid foundation in the first ODI. AB de Villiers led from the front, giving ample support to Amla after the dismissal of the young Quinton at 27, and posted 75 off 70 deliveries to help the team. David Miller once again proved his abilities, finishing out with big scores that gave a strong impetus to the total, taking it to 304 with good support by Ryan McLaren. The batsmen played comfortably against the Lankan spinners and threw caution to the wind while facing the trickiest of bowlers. While the batsmen displayed confidence, the bowlers like Imran Tahir, who took 3 wickets and Morkel, Steyn and McLaren taking 2 each with Philander contributing 1, showed immense perseverance to keep the wickets rolling and exerting the pressure on the home team. This side is a motivated lot and apart from Kallis’ form, the remaining are looking good to chip in with their skills to take the series comfortably though they need to be cautious about the Lankan comeback.
While the South African team has the resources and the psychological advantage going into the second match, the home team will definitely seek vengeance here; we feel that the Lankan Lions will win this match to level and take the fight to the decider in the third and final match during the weekend.
Sri Lanka, 1.90 @ Titan Bet