Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 1st ODI: Five players to watch out for
Sri Lanka get no reprieve from the cricketing calendar as, after a busy tour of England and West Indies, they return home to host South Africa for a five-match ODI series and 3 T20 internationals.
The first match will be played in Colombo at the Premadasa Stadium. South Africa have renewed their setup as coach Gary Kirsten’s two-year reign ended at the Champions Trophy. Russell Domingo, who was his assistant coach during the period, has a tough first assignment as Sri Lanka are a formidable force at home. Captain AB De Villiers has a quality squad at his disposal even though experienced campaigners like Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith will be missing from action.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are coming off yet another defeat against India in the final of the Tri-Nation series that was played in the West Indies. Their captain Angelo Mathews is suspended for the first two matches due to poor over rate and hence, 23-year-old Dinesh Chandimal will take the responsibility as the stand-in captain despite the availability of former captains Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is likely to make a return to the side after missing the trip to the Caribbean, whereas Morne Morkel’s participation is suspect as he picked up a niggle in the practice game against Board President’s XI.
Here is a list of five players who will play a major role in the contest:
5. JP Duminy
JP Duminy is the only player in the South African squad who has batted in Sri Lankan conditions before. He was a part of all the matches contested between the two teams in the series of 2004. His experience, therefore, will be critical for the Proteas.
He has exhibited great potential with the bat at the top of the order and scored an encouraging knock of 92 of 90 balls in the practice game against Board President’s XI. He can be handy with his slow orthodox left-arm off spin, especially given that South Africa are likely to play with a single spinner.