• Amla stars in warm-up game

    The South African squad thrashed a Sri Lankan Board President’s XI in Moratuwa today, with Hashim Amla’s century the highlight, Dan Gillespie reports.

    In the only warm-up game of the series, the Proteas fielded 14 of their 15-man squad, with Jacques Kallis sitting out as a precaution, due to a stiff back, and won by 108 runs.

    After being put in to bat on a typical Sri Lankan track, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock started things off cautiously, reaching 43-0 after 10 overs. De Kock then fell for 18 in the 14th over, trapped LBW by off-spinner Suraj Randiv.

    Amla was joined at the crease by Faf du Plessis, and the two upped the pace, putting on 92 for the second wicket, taking the Proteas to 153. Amla reached his century with a six in the 27th over, off just 79 balls, before retiring to give the middle order a chance to bat.

    Du Plessis was joined by AB de Villiers, but was caught three overs later, for 41. JP Duminy came to the crease at No 5, and the pair batted briskly through the middle overs, before de Villiers became the second retirement, after reaching 41.

    Duminy then batted through the rest of the innings for his 54, before being caught in the last over. Ryan McLaren was the only other batsman to cause the Sri Lankan attack any trouble, making a run-a-ball 20. The Proteas ended their innings on 297-9, losing three wickets in the final over.

    When it came time for the Proteas to bowl, the Sri Lankan team were never allowed to relax, Dale Steyn capturing the wicket of Upul Tharanga in the first over, and wickets falling at regular intervals thereafter. Ten overs into the second innings, the result was a foregone conclusion, with the President’s XI slumping to 40-5, Morne Morkel capturing two sticks and Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and McLaren one each.

    The only resistance in the top order came from Dinesh Chandimal, who has not been included in Sri Lanka’s squad for the first two ODIs after scoring just 38 runs during Sri Lanka’s ODI tour of England, with the wicketkeeper-batsman making 50 from 54 balls before being caught off the bowling of Wayne Parnell, who took two wickets in the innings. At that point the score was 98-8.

    The last three then managed to frustrate the Proteas bowlers with Anuk Fernando (21), Randiv (53) and last man Lahiru Gamage (11 not out) putting on 91 for the last two wickets, and keeping the South Africans in the heat for an hour longer than they would have expected. In the end the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI were bowled out for 189, with Morne Morkel the standout among the bowlers, returning figures of 3-29 from 7 overs.

    The victory will have given the South Africans a much-needed boost ahead of Sunday’s first ODI in Colombo, as they seek to start their month-long tour on a positive note.

    Photo: Barry Aldworth/Backpagepix

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    Dan Gillespie