After a comprehensive win in the first ODI at Dambulla, South Africa will be looking for an encore when they take on Sri Lanka at the same venue in the second ODI on Wednesday afternoon.
The Proteas, all at sea during the two tests, found conditions in Dambulla to be more to their liking. Their fast bowlers, nullified in the test series, came to the party in the first ODI with Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi both wreaking havoc to reduce Sri Lanka to 36/5.
Only a fantastic counter attacking partnership from the two Pereras- Kusal and Thisara took Sri Lanka to a respectable score, although it was way below par in the end, with the Proteas coasting to a five wicket win.
The Proteas had a day off to analyse things before the second ODI. While we decided to try out Cricket Fevr, the Proteas think tank of coach Ottis Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis would’ve definitely been thinking of the balance of the side with one eye on next year’s World cup in England.
Gibson has always shown a tendency to like all rounders, but the two selected on Sunday- youngsters Wiaan Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo, went for over 10 an over. They only had to bowl three each but Sri Lanka would’ve noticed that there are runs available for the taking if they manage to see off the new ball threat of Rabada and Ngidi.
Sri Lanka’s spinners weren’t as effective on this track, with the home side not able to call upon the experienced duo of Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath. Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who took four wickets in this game, said that the pitch was “more like a SA track”, and the curators will look to provide a wicket that plays more to the home side’s strengths on Wednesday.
Apart from the all rounder conundrum, the poor form of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram will be worrying to Du Plessis. Markram in particular has looked vulnerable to spin all throughout this tour, and this might be a last chance for him to perform, with the likes of Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen waiting in the wings for their chance.