Sri Lanka made excellent use of a great batting strip to set South Africa 308 in 39 overs.
Quinton de Kock showed Faf du Plessis how to get off to a good start in an international match by winning the first toss of the tour. De Kock put the hosts in but the Proteas struggled amid a number of rain interruptions that gave the batsmen the upper-hand.
On a well-paced pitch, and with the conditions damp underfoot, the Proteas struggled to keep the Sri Lankans under control as Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga got their team off to their best start of the series before the former fell for 34 off 35 balls with the score on 61 (11.3 overs).
JP Duminy picked up the wicket, with De Kock taking a simple catch off a miscued paddle.
Wiaan Mulder picked up the second wicket with an absolute peach of a delivery; bowling Tharanga with an off-cutter pitched on a length. Tharanga scored 36 off 41 balls and departed with the score 92-2 in the 15th over.
Kusal Perera then took the innings by the scruff of the neck, smashing 51 off 32 balls (six fours, two sixes, S/R 159.37) to lift his side to 195 in the 28th over. Kusal Perera was the sixth wicket to fall, thanks to an excellent sliding catch in the deep by David Miller.
With nothing to lose and conditions in their favour, Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka shared a magnificent 109-run partnership in double quick time. The stand was ended when Shanaka was caught by Mulder off Andile Phehlukwayo to end a devastating ― and potentially match-winning ― innings of 65 off just 34 balls (four fours, five sixes, S/R 191.17).
Thisara Perera ended not out on 51 off 45 balls (three fours, two sixes, S/R 113.33) as Sri Lanka finished on 306-7 off their 39 overs, at an imposing run-rate of 7.84.
The bowlers all suffered some heavy punishment from the Sri Lankans, but under the circumstances, they bowled well and will have learned a lot from these conditions. Lungi Ngidi picked up two wickets in the innings, but Duminy returned with the best figures of 6-0-35-2 (econ 5.83).
Junior Dala’s ODI debut looked really promising, as he bowled with pace and fire. When he gets the ball in the right zones he’s an incredibly tricky bowler to face and could be a valuable asset in the World Cup squad. His figures of 0-64 off his eight overs was a good performance under the circumstances.
One of the highlights of the innings was an acrobatic catch by captain De Kock to remove Angelo Mathews off Ngidi for 22, and the wicket-keeper batsman will be relishing the chance to bat on this strip. The wicket looks like it will be a run feast for the Proteas, although they might find it trickier against the Sri Lankan spin.
Sri Lanka innings 306-7 (39 overs) – Dasun Shanaka 65, Thisara Perera 51*, Kusal Perera 51; Lungi Ngidi 2-65, JP Duminy 2-35
Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images