A sensational spell by Imran Tahir that rocked the middle-order, splendid support bowling by Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris and crafty half-centuries by Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis powered South Africa to an emphatic eight-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the first One Day International (ODI) at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Sri Lanka managed a lowly 181 after South Africa won the toss and inserted the visitors.
The Proteas reached 185 for two with 94 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka, well-entrenched on 86 for two, slumped to a below-par 181 in blistering conditions and on a slightly two-paced wicket.
Tahir captured 3-26 with a world-class performance which included the wickets of Dinesh Chandimal for 22 with a googly, and the scalp of Kusal Mendis with a slider for 62.
Parnell, with 3-48, and Morris, with 2-29, aided him splendidly.
South Africa, unburdened by not having to chase down a substantial target in excess of 300, started off steadily and fluently.
Amla completed his 31st half-centuries in ODIs and featured in partnerships of 71 off 79 balls with Quinton de Kock and 60 with Faf du Plessis. Amla’s 57 came off 71 balls with five fours and a six.
A hallmark of the opening partnership was the smart rotating of the strike between Amla and De Kock.
When Asela Gunaratne’s clever slow spin caused the downfall of Amla (caught and bowled), AB de Villiers gave the singing fans the taste of his glorious shot-making as he mauled the Sri Lankan slow bowlers with some audacious sweeps and reverse laps. He finished unbeaten on 30. (Courtesy supersport.com )