COLOMBO: Opener Hashim Amla smashed 109 and Ryan McLaren took two wickets in three balls as South Africa thrashed Sri Lanka by 75 runs in their first ODI on Sunday.
Amla, 31, hit eight fours in his composed 130-ball knock and shared a 151-run third-wicket stand with skipper AB de Villiers (75), helping the visitors post a formidable 304-5 at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Kumar Sangakkara responded with a fine 88 off just 84 balls but Sri Lanka were still bundled out for 229 off 40.3 overs.
The hosts appeared headed towards victory at one point. But paceman McLaren dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne and Sangakkara in the 38th over to trigger a collapse that saw Sri Lanka lose their last five wickets for just 13 runs.
“We had a bad day at the office,” said Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews.
“The South Africans played better cricket and we were really rusty. After the start we got, the middle-order made some poor shot selection and that cost us the game.”
Meanwhile, Proteas skipper AB de Villiers said that he was proud of his teammates.
“We fought really well,” said De Villiers.
“And I am really proud of our first innings here. I thought the guys recovered really well. We are very motivated to win our first series here, things have started really well and we’ll have to go really hard in the next few games.”
The victory on Sunday was only South Africa’s third in 17 one-dayers against the hosts in Sri Lanka. The second ODI will be played in Pallekele on Wednesday, followed by the third and final match in Hambantota on Sunday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2014.
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