Amla and Tahir sink Sri Lanka

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An outstanding century from Hashim Amla and three key wickets from leg-spinner Imran Tahir afforded South Africa a convincing 75-run victory over Sri Lanka in Sunday's first ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

An outstanding century from Hashim Amla and three key wickets from leg-spinner Imran Tahir afforded South Africa a solid 75-run victory over Sri Lanka in Sunday's first ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

The Proteas were largely convincing in upstaging opposition two positions superior in the International Cricket Council rankings, despite a challenging half-ton from the veteran Kumar Sangakkara.

The visitors' formidable total of 304 for five was built on the back of Amla's 109, which featured eight fours and a solitary six, spanned a patient 130 deliveries – and saw former opener Gary Kirsten's tally of 13 ODI centuries equaled.

Captain AB de Villiers, meanwhile, afforded the in-form Amla plenty of support. De Villiers scored a fluid 75 during a 151-run alliance, dominating a host attack spearheaded by pace ace Lasith Malinga and spinner Ajantha Mendis.

The Sri Lankans' performance was marred by two dropped catches, while the use of part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan proved expensive. The tourists will enjoy some consolation, though, after the stalwart Jacques Kallis was dismissed for a duck.

Their pursuit of a tough target enjoyed initial impetus, but the left-handed Kusal Perera and fellow opener Dilshan's inability to convert 34 and 40 respectively into innings of Amla- or de Villiers-esque substance was detrimental.

The stalwart Sangakkara characteristically formed the backbone of the middle order. His authoritative 88, though, didn't find enough support – and was eventually ended amid the South Africans' penchant for regular breakthroughs.

The home side, in fact, lost the last five wickets for just 13 runs. All-rounder Ryan McLaren started the collapse, with Tahir and fast bowler Dale Steyn at hand for the conclusion.

The visitors' showing in the field was not without error. Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, too, spilled a straightforward catch. Amla was duly named Man of the Match. The second ODI will be played in Pallekele on Wednesday. Hambantota will host the third and final fixture on Saturday.

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