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Beware the backlash

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After being humbled in the first ODI, the hosts will want to show their true potential and level the series

Sri Lanka will look to hit back immediately when they face South Africa in the second ODI at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla, today.

After being humbled in the first ODI, the hosts will want to show their true potential and level the series.

The change of formats brought with it good tidings for South Africa as they brushed their Test disappointments aside and won the first ODI quite comprehensively, by five wickets.

Kagiso Rabada (4/41) and Tabraiz Shamsi (4/33) set it up for them as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 193, and JP Duminy’s whirlwind half-century (53* in 32 balls) sealed the match for the visitors in just 31 overs.

Sri Lanka, who were 36/5 at one stage, were helped by Kusal and Thisara Perera as they added 92 runs for the sixth wicket to revive the innings and helped give their bowlers something to defend. However, it was far from enough as Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis added 86 runs for the third wicket to make light work of the chase.

Kusal’s innings of 81 off 71 balls was the highlight of the Sri Lankan innings and Thisara’s 49 off 30 also helped them up the scoring rate, and a lot will depend on these two should Sri Lanka find themselves in a spot of bother again.

For the best results, however, Sri Lanka’s top-order needs to come good and they need to arrest a collapse if they bat first. Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis and captain Angelo Mathews form a formidable line-up and they must click as a unit.

Among the bowlers, barring Akila Dananjaya, who picked up 3/50 in his 10, the others looked ineffective and the hosts will have to give their ace white-ball spinner some support.

For South Africa, barring the brief period when the Pereras were going well, everything else went well. But they did look under pressure when the Sri Lankan batsmen went on the offensive.

Except for Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram’s failures at the top, the South African batsmen looked fairly confident against spin – they took Lakshan Sandakan for 74 runs off his eight overs and will look to carry the momentum into the second match.

SA’s bowlers need to stick to their plans when put under the pump. As good as Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were with the new ball, Andile Phehlukwayo and Willem Mulder looked ineffective as the first-change and second-chance options, giving away 64 runs in the six overs they bowled. Sri Lanka may look to exploit this weakness.

For South Africa, Duminy could be key. A limited-overs specialist, he made his presence felt in his first game of the tour by hitting a rapid half-century after coming in to bat with South Africa needing 77 runs.

He provided the knockout punch with six fours and two sixes and will be an integral part of the South African middle-order.

Squads

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.