(UDHAYAM, PORT ELIZABETH) – Sri Lanka was brimming with confidence before the first One-Day International against South Africa at Port Elizabeth after winning the three-match Twenty20 International series 2-1. However, the AB de Villiers-led side left the visitors deflated after handing a crushing 8-wicket defeat.
Imran Tahir took 3 for 26 from his 10 overs. Wayne Parnell, too, was among wickets with his spell of 3 for 48. Together the two dismantled Sri Lanka’s batting for a modest 181, which was chased down with ease by South African top-order.
Going into the 2nd ODI, in Durban today (01st Wednesday), de Villiers will expect a similar performance from his star spinner. In the T20I series, Sri Lanka was trailing 0-1 in a three-match series, heading towards another series defeat. However, the Lankans won the second T20I thanks to skipper Angelo Mathews, who braving an injury, got them across the finishing line.
Sri Lanka then went on to win the final game and series, thus scripting a brilliant comeback. South Africa will however need to be wary of the Sri Lankans who can stage a similar fight-back in the ODIs. Stand in skipper Upul Tharanga said “We have lots of areas to improve on the batting and bowling fronts. We have a couple of days to sit together as a team and have a chat about what we can improve. Like I said both batting and bowling, lots of areas to improve”.
The Lankans will want Niroshan Dickwella and Sandun Weerakkody to get them off to a solid start in the second game. Also, the tourists will hope skipper Tharanga gets back to scoring ways. Though they lost the series opener, there are not many changes on the cards, as the Sri Lankan will perhaps give the young side another chance. In the 25-year-old history, Sri Lanka and South Africa have met just once at Durban, that match, full of drama ended in a tie.
Sri Lanka will look to seek inspiration from the match played in 2003 during the ICC Cricket World Cup in order keep the series alive with a win at the same venue today.