Sri Lanka might have surprised South Africa and even themselves by winning the Test series 2-0 but even they would realise that the limited overs would be a different ball game altogether.
South Africa look to bounce back from an embarrassing 2-0 Test defeat at home to Sri Lanka when the two teams meet again the first ODI of five.
Sri Lanka have been struggling in ODI cricket lately and are coming off a 0-3 defeat against New Zealand. Every move that Sri Lanka make going forward will be seen differently. South Africa will be wary of the two Pereras – Thisara and Kusal – who are now their most important cogs.
Date: Sunday March 03, 2019
Timing: 01:00 PM PKT
Venue: The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Weather: The forecast for Sunday is partly cloudy with no chances of rain.
Conditions / Pitch Report: Teams haven’t been able to compete much at the Wanderers lately. The curators at the Wanderers had a reputation for producing flat tracks for limited overs. However, over the last few ODIs played at the ground, teams have struggled to compile massive scores. The last three matches hosted by the venue went in favour of the chasing team. Therefore, it won’t spring much of a surprise if the teams opt to field first after winning the toss.
Head to Head:
Matches: 71 | South Africa: 38 | Sri Lanka: 31 | NR: 2
South Africa: W L W W L (completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: L L L W L
1. South Africa
South Africa are bullish at home, and have lost just one series there in the last five years. South Africa, are in good form and beat Pakistan 3-2 in their last assignment.
Proteas paceman Lungi Ngidi has proven his fitness to earn a recall for the first three ODIs, while batsman Hashim Amla is a surprise omission, albeit with Cricket South Africa clarifying the veteran batsman has not been dropped and “remains a senior member of our squad”.
Anrich Nortje, meanwhile, has earned a maiden ODI call-up after impressing for Cape Town Blitz during the domestic Twenty20 tournament.
Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir will obviously be a big threat for the Sri Lankan batsmen. Among the batters, Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen are the rising stars for South Africa while Faf du Plessis and David Miller remain the lynchpin of their middle order.
In Hashim Amla’s absence, Reeza Hendricks would open the batting with Quinton de Kock followed by the calm and composed Rassie van der Dussen. Du Plessis would bat at four with the powerful David Miller next in.
South Africa’s Probable XI:
1. Quinton de Kock (wk), 2. Reeza Hendricks, 3. Rassie van der Dussen, 4. Faf du Plessis (capt), 5. David Miller, 6. Dwaine Pretorius, 7. Andile Phehlukwayo, 8. Kagiso Rabada / Dale Steyn, 9. Anrich Nortje, 10. Lungi Ngidi, 11. Imran Tahir
2. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka have been struggling in ODI cricket lately and are coming off a 0-3 defeat against New Zealand. The last time that they met South Africa was at home when they were beaten by 3-2.
Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera and Lasith Malinga are the senior players in the team and would have the responsibility of ensuring that the side plays as a well-jelled unit.
Sri Lanka have given chances to three uncapped players – Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis and Priyamal Perera in the hope of turning their fortunes around in ODI cricket.
As for Sri Lanka, offspinner Akila Dananjaya returns to their squad after having his action cleared.
Dhananjaya has been one of Sri Lanka’s main threats in limited-overs cricket in recent times, taking 28 ODI wickets at an average of 23 in 2018, but he was banned from bowling in international cricket in December until the recent ruling from the ICC.
Dananjaya will lead a revamped spin attack for the visitors that includes Kamindu Mendis, the ambidextrous spinner, and Lakshan Sandakan, the left-arm wristspinner.
Sri Lanka’s Probable XI:
1. Upul Tharanga, 2. Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 3. Oshada Fernando, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Kusal Perera, 6. Dhananjaya de Silva, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Akila Dananjaya, 9. Lasith Malinga (capt), 10. Kasun Rajitha, 11. Vishwa Fernando
Players to watch:
1. Quinton De Kock – Batsman, South Africa
De Kock is always a dangerous player when it comes to the ODIs. The South African wicket-keeper batsman is a more potent force at home. His average in home ODIs is 57.33 as opposed to a career average of 44.26. He has been very consistent with the runs for South Africa in the last year and could be one of the most important players in the series.
2. Faf du Plessis – Batsman, South Africa
South Africa needs Faf du Plessis to be at the very top of his game. And if he manages that, South Africa are definitely on their way to win the match. Du Plessis’s form is imperative to South Afria’s success, and the skipper could very well turn the series on its head.
3. David Miller – Batsman, South Africa
David Miller is always a dangerous player when it comes to the shortest format of the game. One of the most powerful hitters of the ball, Miller doesn’t need any time to adjust and can switch gears in an instant.
4. Thisara Perera – All-rounder, Sri Lanka
Arguably the most in-form player in this Sri Lankan team, Thisara Perera was slamming 30 runs in an over in the 2018-19 Bangladesh Premier League. Perera has been simply unstoppable in recent times, and the pace offered by South Africa’s bowlers could work to his favour. He will be eager to extend that form in this series as well.
5. Kusal Perera – Batsman, Sri Lanka
Kusal Perera is also one of the most in-form player in this Sri Lankan team. Kusal is capable of a huge knock that could have a big impact in the game and is Sri Lanka’s trump card in the middle-order.
Stats and Travia:
- Kumar Sangakkara is the only Sri Lankan batsman to have scored an ODI hundred at the Wanderers.
- Faf du Plessis is the leading run-scorer against Sri Lanka in ODIs in the current South African ODI squad, with 798 runs at 44.33
5 – Dale Steyn has 195 wickets in ODIs. He needs to pick to 5 more to get 200 ODI wickets.
98 – Kagiso Rabada is two wickets away from the 100 ODI wickets mark. He accounted for 98 in 62 games so far.