T20 series preview: Sri Lanka v South Africa

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South Africa have had very little time to recover from their four-one ODI series drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka, and now they must switch formats and skippers for a three-match T20 series over the span of a week.

South Africa have had very little time to recover from their four-one ODI series drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka, and now they must switch formats and skippers for a three-match T20 series over the span of a week.

Sri Lanka dominated the one-dayers, with their top order showing the Proteas' batsmen how to score runs on the sub-continent, and South Africa really felt the absence of Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn, with bat and ball.

Now they must move their attention to T20 skipper Faf du Plessis, who did not have a good series personally, while Henry Davids, Imran Tahir and David Wiese stand in line for games after not being part of the ODI set-up.

JP Duminy, AB de Villiers and David Miller were by far South Africa's best batsmen, but they were still far behind Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan on the runs table, and they each only made a half century in five games.

As for the bowlers, the attack was changed nearly every game as coach Russell Domingo looked for a steady and reliable combination. But the fifth ODI showed their lack of penetration, as Sri Lanka racked up over 300 runs for just four wickets.

So now the focus has to switch to the shortest format, with only two days between the series. Sri Lanka are able to call on Nuwan Kulasekara again after he recovered from a hand injury picked up in the Caribbean.

Sri Lanka are the number one T20 side, and while these teams have faced each other only once, with South Africa winning, the <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' class='instorylink'><b>odds will surely be in Sri Lanka's favour</b></a>. They have the confidence, the players and the home advantage.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, Kumar Sangakkara will again be the man to watch. He was sublime in the ODIs, scoring a century and two fifties in five games, and made nearly 200 runs more than any of the Proteas.

South Africa will be looking to David Miller for their T20 runs. He played a cracking innings in the third ODI, making 85 not out, and he had the best average of the top order batsmen. As he showed with Yorkshire, and with the Kings XI Punjab, he can win a game in a few overs, and punters on <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet' class='instorylink'><b>Paddy Power</b></a> and the like will keep a close eye on him.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>Only T20: World Twenty20, 2012: South Africa won by 32 runs

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Sri Lanka</i>: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis

<i>South Africa</i>: Far du Plessis, Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kok, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, David Wiese

<b>Fixtures – all 13:30 GMT (15:30 SAST)</b>First T20: 2 August, Colombo<br>Second T20:4 August, Hambantota<br>Third T20: 6 August, Hambantota

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