• Shamsi credits home advantage in Sri Lanka win

    Tabraiz Shamsi has credited his experience of South African conditions for giving him the edge to snag career-best ODI figures.

    The Proteas’ left-arm wrist-spinner took 4-33 in the five-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the first ODI in Dambulla on Sunday. The spinner was surprised by the pitch at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, which he described as similar to those on the highveld back home.

    ‘To be honest, I felt like it was a bit more of a South Africa type of wicket,’ he said after the match. ‘There wasn’t much spin, especially because we bowled first. We bowl a lot on pitches like this back home so it was OK to adjust.’

    Shamsi and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj have been picked as the two front-line spinners for the series ahead of Imran Tahir, who has been rested to allow the selectors a look into the spin resources. Although his performance has asserted his potential as a wicket-taking option, Shamsi says he can adapt to any situation required.

    ‘Every time I play, I try to do my best for the team,’ the 28-year-old explained. ‘I have been given the freedom to express myself and to try and take wickets. On another day, my job might be to contain and hold the game. It depends on what is required of me.’

    Shamsi gave credit to the new-ball pair of Kagiso Rabada (4-41) and Lungi Ngidi (1-29), who blasted through the top order in the opening eight overs to leave the hosts five down for 35. Rabada (49) and Ngidi (5) only have 54 ODI caps between them, but bowled with exceptional aggression and intent to lead an inexperienced seam attack.

    ‘Even though I managed to get out the batsmen who made runs, our fast bowlers made our job a lot easier,’ Shamsi said. ‘Any team that is five down early with 30-odd runs on the board makes the job easier. Credit to Sri Lanka for getting close to 200 runs after a start like that. I am happy to do my job when I am given the ball, which is to take wickets.’

    The second ODI takes place at the same venue on Wednesday.

    Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)

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