Free State’s 20-year-old Raynard van Tonder scored a maiden 50-over century as the touring Sri Lankan side beat an SA Invitation XI ahead of the ODI series against the Proteas.
Van Tonder’s magnificent knock couldn’t prevent Sri Lanka from claiming the win as the tourists enjoyed a comfortable six-wicket win over the SA Invitation XI in Benoni on Thursday ahead of their five-match ODI series against South Africa.
The former South Africa U19 captain blazed his way to 164 off 156 balls in an innings that included 13 fours and five sixes, with the home side totalling an impressive 304 all out in the tour match at Willowmoore Park.
Van Tonder was eventually dismissed by veteran Lasith Malinga, whose first appearance of the tour yielded a fine return of five for 35 from seven overs. Avishka Fernando and Oshada Fernando then blasted half-centuries as the islanders cruised to their target with a full nine overs to spare.
The match was Sri Lanka’s first since their historic 2-0 triumph over the Proteas in their recent Test series, and with experienced reinforcements joining in the form of Malinga, Upul Tharanga and Thisara Perera, the Sri Lanka side looked ominously stronger.
Host captain Marques Ackerman (42) won the toss and opted to bat first, putting on 91 with Van Tonder for the opening wicket, before Tshepang Dithole (0) and Sibonelo Makhanya (0) were both out first ball to leave the hosts on 91 for three.
Leus du Plooy (36) then added 77 alongside Van Tonder for the fourth wicket, before another cluster of wickets left the home side on 184 for six.
Kyle Simmonds was next to provide support for the opener with 28 runs that took the South Africans to 256 thanks to another half-century stand, before they again folded in 48 overs.
Tharanga (45) and Avishka Fernando (72 off 46 balls, 9 fours, 3 sixes) put on 127 for the opening wicket, with Oshada Fernando (63 off 48 balls, 8 fours, 2 sixes) and Kusal Mendis (47) then adding 110 for the third wicket.
That was enough to take the away side to the brink of victory, with Kamindu Mendis (26 not out) and Priyamal Perera (31 not out) adding the finishing touches in a solid win.
The opening match of the One-Day Series between the Proteas and Sri Lanka takes place at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images