South Africa vs Sri Lanka: Amla century helps Proteas to comfortable victory

Ross Houston
June 5, 2017

Malinga failed to make a major impact during his first one-day worldwide since November 2015 on Saturday, in the defeat to South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy, but his return was still a welcome one.

Sri Lanka were cruising at 116 for two when Imran Tahir was introduced to the attack and the momentum swung in South Africa's favour immediately.

"It also presented them with a selection dilemma", said the Sri Lankan great, "They choose the more conservative option and made a decision to bolster the batting, playing just four specialist bowlers with Asela Gunaratne as the fifth bowler".

Hashim Amla's 25th one-day worldwide hundred underpinned the Proteas' score of 299-6 on Saturday, before Tahir played the lead role in ensuring Sri Lanka's chase was an unsuccessful one.

He added 145 runs with Francois du Plessis, who contributed with 75 runs off 70 deliveries with six fours. As he rushed in front to make a dive, he could not time the catch properly, and ended up dropping it. "He did really well to assess the conditions, and communicated well with us what kind of score is going to be good", South Africa captain A.B de Villiers said. In the 13th over, De Kock was caught behind off Nuwan Pradeep. Amla became the fastest to the 25th ODI ton.

In fact, for a major part of the match South Africa showed their dominance in the game.

Amla was run out by a direct hit from Tharanga for a fine 103 that came off 115 deliveries with five fours and two sixes. Dickwella made 41 of those off 33 balls with 5 fours and a six. Assisted by the wind and a tinge of grass on the pitch, the Sri Lankans leaked only 32 runs in the first 10 overs. "It was close to ten out of ten", said De Villiers.

However, the opening batsman will now be unavailable for his side's remaining group matches against India and Pakistan, having pleaded guilty to a serious over-rate offence.

AB de Villiers fails to fire: Du Plessis' wicket brought in AB de Villiers to the crease, much to the crowd's glee.

Sri Lanka play their next match against India on Thursday.

Tahir finished with 4-27 and a run out to his name as Sri Lanka fell 96 runs short after being bowled out in the 42nd over. Among all players who have scored at least 500 runs, he has the third-best ODI average in the country.

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