Proteas bowlers torpedo Sri Lanka to set up ODI win

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The Proteas specialist bowlers set up a comfortable five wicket win in the ODI series opener against hosts Sri Lanka in Dambulla.

The tourists opted for just the three out-and-out bowlers in the XI with Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi supplemented by allrounders Andile Phehlukwayo, Wian Mulder and JP Duminy.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first, a decision they would come to regret when a fired-up Rabada got amongst the top-order early.

Niroshan Dickwella (2) was in a generous mood flicking a Rabada full toss to Shamsi at midwicket who completed a tumbling catch to make the breakthrough just three balls into the match.

Rabada settled into a nagging line and was rewarded when Kusal Mendis (3) hung his bat out to dry and got a feather on the ball through to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to leave Sri Lanka 11 for 2 in the third over.

Duminy taught Upul Tharanga a lesson about picking the fielders to take on, his direct hit from mid-off sent the opener packing and left Sri Lanka reeling at 22 for 3.

Ngidi’s extra bounce induced a poor shot from skipper Angelo Mathews (5) and Shehan Jayasuriya (0) followed the captain back to the dressing room the very next over with another poor shot against Rabada (4/41), Sri Lanka had slipped to 36 for 5 and were in danger of suffering a massive embarrassment.

Kusal Perera (81) and Thisara Perera (49) played gutsy innings for Sri Lanka and added 92 for the sixth wicket to give the home side some chance.

Shamsi would eventually find a way through both Thisara and Kusal while also accounting for tailenders Akila Dananjaya (11) and Lahiru Kumara, the latter being stumped by De Kock to end the Sri Lanka innings on 193.

The Proteas reply started aggressively with Hashim Amla and De Kock coming out all guns blazing and racing to 31 for no loss off 4.2 overs, but then Dananjaya struck twice.

The unorthodox spinner bowled Hashim Amla (19) and trapped Aiden Markram leg before first ball to bring Sri Lanka back into the contest.

De Kock and skipper Faf du Plessis steadied the ship though adding 86 for the third wicket and taking South Africa to 117 before the former succumbed to Dananjaya leg before for 47.

Du Plessis (47) was guilty of a bizarre miscalculation that gave the home side another opening as he deflected Lakshan Sandakan straight to slip after setting up for a premeditated paddle sweep.

David Miller (10) was the victim of an excellent Yorker from Suranga Lakmal but JP Duminy and young Wian Mulder would get the job done for the Proteas who had stayed well ahead of the required rate.

Duminy (53*) was the only Proteas batsman to make it past fifty and showed his value to the side as a level-headed finisher.

Shamsi’s 4 for 33 earned him the man of the match award.