Saturday, January 28, 2017

Young Sri Lanka Face a Strong South African Side in Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 1st ODI; Port Elizabeth - Match Preview

Sri Lanka were battered and bruised by a strong Protea unit as they slumped 0-3 in the test series but a young Lankan side played manfully in the T20I's that followed to give Sri Lanka their first ever series win in South Africa in any format as they won 2-1.

Now we come to the five match ODI series and with the Champions Trophy looming on the horizon, thus is an ideal opportunity for both sides to get their squads in order.

South Africa again appear far stronger on paper with quality players like Amla, De Kock, De Villiers and Faf du Plessis in their side not to mention Duminy and Rabada as well. Sri Lanka will be led by the veteran Upul Tharanga and he will be keen to showcase his captaincy skills against a tough opposition after he led Sri Lanka to the title in the recently concluded tri-series in Zimbabwe which also included West Indies.

Sri Lanka will hope that Dickwella will continue his stellar run and that the extremely talented duo of Mendis and De Silva convert promise into something substantial. Chandimal was the pick of Lankan batsmen in ODI cricket last year and he would want to continue his good form. South African bowling seems a bit light on paper as compared to their batting unit and Sri Lanka will want their batsmen to concentrate on building a long innings and put them under pressure in the slog overs.

I would also want Sri Lanka to play both Vandersey and Sandakan who can do the dual role of tying the batsmen down as well chip in with wickets in the middle overs.

South Africa will miss the pace of Lungi Ngidi after he was injured in the field in the last T20 so Parnell and Phehlukwayo might both get in along with Morris who returns from injury.

This South African side is a beast and they blanked the Australian's 5-0 recently at home in ODI's so it won't be easy for Sri Lanka but if the Lankans put on show the same grit and determination that they displayed when playing the T20 format then they have the calibre to surprise their much fancied opponents.

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