South Africa negate Sangakkara scare

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South Africa successfully staved off Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara's late onslaught to clinch a 12-run triumph – and one-nil series lead – in Friday's opening Twenty20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

South Africa successfully staved off Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara's late onslaught to clinch a 12-run triumph – and one-nil series lead – in Friday's opening Twenty20 International in Colombo.

Outgunned in the recent ODI series against the same opposition and with plenty to prove, the Proteas rode to success on the all-round performance of the talented JP Duminy, who orchestrated a fighting half-century before securing three key wickets.

Duminy's 51, a trio of boundaries and a solitary six included, was the backbone of a final total of 115 for six, which might have read considerably worse in the wake of an initial slump.

Spinner Sachithra Senanayake had reduced the tourists to 23 for three inside the opening six overs, with openers Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock and captain Faf du Plessis managing a mere 14 runs between them.

Duminy, ODI skipper de Villiers' 15 an the hard-hitting David Miller's 25, though, countered – and made for an intriguing contest on a testing pitch at the R Premadasa Stadium.

The Sri Lankans' response was reasonably settled at 72 for four, but soon endured a calamitous capitulation to 95 for nine. Seamer Wayne Parnell's return to the attack truly hauled the visitors back into the contest, with the penultimate over bringing a double-wicket maiden.

Regardless, Sangakkara's presence brought cool, calm and collection. With 21 required off the final six deliveries, and two boundaries struck off the first three, proceedings were down to the proverbial wire.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel, however, held his nerve – and three dot balls sealed the deal. Duminy was named Man of the Match – and conceded the triumph was, indeed, a welcome win amid an otherwise tough tour.

The second match will get underway at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. The same venue will host the third – and final – fixture on Tuesday.

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