Sri Lanka will look to bounce back after South Africa’s morale-boosting win in the first One-Day International (ODI) when the sides meet again in Centurion on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s captain Lasith Malinga, he will know his team is capable of more and will look for a resurgent performance after South Africa made light work of their chase of 232 to win by eight wickets with more than 11 overs to spare.
After becoming the first South African captain to lose a home Test series to an Asian side, Faf du Plessis registered his 11th ODI hundred to make light work of his side’s target of 232 against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Du Plessis was in complete control throughout his knock of 112 off 114 deliveries and was well supported by Quinton de Kock (81 off 72) as the pair’s effortless second-wicket stand of 136 contradicted Sri Lanka’s struggles with the bat. The Islanders were bundled out for a below par 231 earlier in the day.
Du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl first and his decision was vindicated as Lungi Ngidi, back from injury, had the visitors two down within the first four overs. His first was the result of sharp return catch off Niroshan Dickwella with his second coming courtesy of an inside edge that clattered into Upal Tharanga’s stumps. Both openers were back in the shed for eight and nine respectively.
Sri Lanka’s middle order fought back but none of their set batsmen - Kusal Mendis (60), Oshada Fernando (49), Kusal Perera (33) and Dhananjaya de Silva (39) - were able to kick on after good starts.
Their progress was primarily stalled by Imran Tahir who returned figures of 3/26 from his 10 overs. The 39-year-old was not awarded with a national team contract by Cricket South Africa last week but he rolled back the years with control and guile.
Kagiso Rabada and debutant Anrich Nortje bagged a scalp apiece - with two run-outs adding to Sri Lanka's woes - before Ngidi added one more to his stockpile to finish with 3/60 from his allotted overs.
With a small total to defend, Sri Lanka’s captain Lasith Malinga was in desperate need of early wickets and he had one in the second over. Reeza Hendricks misjudged the line of a Vishwa Fernando cutter and was caught behind for 1 off his inside edge.
That brought du Plessis to the crease and together with de Kock took the game away from his guests. They began patiently, milking ones and twos before opening up and peppering the boundary with regularity.
De Kock would not reach three figures himself as he was trapped in front by Akila Dananjaya in the 23rd over.
Rassie van der Dussen, who ended unbeaten on 32, joined his captain in the middle and the pair knocked off the winning runs for a morale-boosting victory.
With his side short of confidence following the shock Test series defeat, and coach Ottis Gibson confessing that his World Cup squad is not yet finalised, this was the morale booster that du Plessis sorely needed.
As for Sri Lanka’s captain Lasith Malinga, he will know his team is capable of more and will look for a resurgent performance when the sides cross the Jukskei River for the second match in Centurion on Wednesday.African News Agency