Sri Lanka will begin their 5-match ODI series against South Africa on the 3rd of March at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, looking to build on the momentum gathered during their historic Test series win.
The Tests are done and dusted, and in unexpected fashion, it will be the Sri Lankans going into the ODI series with their tails up, having registered an incredible 2-0 series result against the hosts. South Africa were left wondering what hit them after the 2nd Test, losing their 4th game in as many Tests over the past 8 months.
The ODIs will be a different ball game altogether, but there is no doubt that Sri Lanka will be the team going into the series with the slight edge while the South Africans will be out for blood.
Just a push off Oshada Fernando’s bat to mid-wicket for 1 run. It was a subdued end…
Sri Lanka had a good outing in their only warm-up game before the colored clothing matches get underway, registering a comfortable 6-wicket win over the Cricket South Africa Invitational XI.
No Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Pradeep or Suranga Lakmal means that Sri Lanka will be seriously lacking in experience. However, if the Test series proved anything, it’s the fact that Sri Lanka could well do without the baggage that comes with experience.
Neither Danushka Gunathilake nor Sadeera Samarawickrama have made the trip to South Africa, so Sri Lanka willhave a vacant spot they are looking to fill besides Niroshan Dickwella at the top of the order. Veteran Upul Tharanga and youngster Avishka Fernando will both be vying for the spot, but on form, it’s hard to see the visitors’ management look past Fernando, who has had a phenomenal 2019 so far, making scores of 128, 55, 89, 139 & 112 for Sri Lanka A in a 5-match ODI series against Ireland A in January.
Veteran Upul Tharanga making a comeback to the side looked solid scoring 45 off 34…
Hero of the Tests, Kusal Janith Perera, will remain at 3 for the ODIs and will be followed by Kusal Mendis at four. It the lower middle-order that Sri Lanka will have some trouble picking, with Dhananjaya De Silva, Angelo Perera, Priyamal Perera, Oshada Fernando and Kamindu Mendis vying for the No. 5 & 6 spots.
Oshada Fernando will be hard to ignore, particularly with him getting a stroke-filled half century in the warm up game. Tough to call but looking at the complete team, the educated guess would be to go with Fernando at 5 and Kamindu Mendis at 6, with the latter also offering a spin bowling option.
Thisara Perera will be looking to continue his blistering form from the tour of New Zealand earlier this year at No. 7 and support the pace bowling arsenal led by Captain Lasith Malinga and comprising of new Test stars Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha.
All eyes will be on Akila Dananjaya, as he returns to the team after some remedial work to his action, which saw him banned from bowling after the ODI series against England. The off-spinner, will be looking to make an impact right away, after missing the New Zealand series.
Sri Lanka Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Malinga ©
South Africa too have made a number of changes to their ODI squad, from the one that played Pakistan a few weeks ago. Veteran Hashim Amla has been left out of the squad, making way for a new opening partner for wicketkeeper batsman Quinto de Kock. Rassie van der Dussen looks like the man to open the batting after an impressive showing against Pakistan.
The hosts too will be short of some experience in the line-up and will be desperate to us this series to finalize their World Cup squad to an extent, as they have no more ODIs to come before the cricketing spectacle later this year.
Akila Dananjaya’s remodeled bowling action has been given the green light to be used…
With the squad for the 1st 3 ODIs featuring just 5 pure batmen, the Proteas will rely on all-rounders Wiaan Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo to keep things ticking over in the lower middle order.
The fortunes of South Africa will depend a lot on their bowling line-up, with Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir being key to their success.
South Africa Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis ©, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi
The Wanderers produced the unforgettable ‘434 epic’ back in 2006, but since then the grounds has not seen too many high-scoring thrillers. Of late, the bowlers have dominated proceedings and Sri Lanka will be expecting much of the same in the 1st game of the series.