Sri Lanka vs South Africa: 1st ODI, Preview- Visitors start as favourites, but Mathews’ men aren’t mere pushovers

As far as the rankings are concerned, the visiting team has the upper hand, but their current form in white-ball cricket is a tad contrasting.

Sri Lanka cricket team
Sri Lanka cricket team. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa came into the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka as the firm favourites, however, they couldn’t live up to expectations by any means. Despite possessing some of the best players in the business, they were unable to get under the skins of Suranga Lakmal and Co. Their batsmen were found wanting against the spinners, who unfolded mayhem in the opposition camp.

The tweakers shouldered most of the responsibility and South Africa had no answers to the questions posed by them. After their shambolic journey in the Tests, the team will now play the first of the five-match ODI series tomorrow in Dambulla. As far as the rankings are concerned, the visiting team has the upper hand, but their current form in white-ball cricket is a tad contrasting.


The Proteas lost their previous ODI series against India and could only win one out of six matches. The Lankans won the triangular series involving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. After the results of the red-ball fixtures, it won’t spring a surprise if the pitch for the first match turns out to be a slow and low one. In the meantime, Faf du Plessis’ men are in for a stern test to give their opponents a run for their money.

Team Combination

Sri Lanka  

Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga are the opening batters with Kusal Mendis at number three. Angelo Matthews and Thisara Perera are the most experienced batters and they have to shoulder a chunk of the mantle. In the bowling department, the spinners in Lakshan Sandakan and Akila Dananjaya will look to get a stranglehold on the visiting team’s batting. Angelo Mathews’ role as the captain will also be crucial.

Predicted XI

Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews (C), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan

South Africa

Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla will open the batting. Skipper Faf du Plessis comes in at number three. Markram, who couldn’t perform in the warm-up match, may not play and Heinrich Klaasen is likely to replace him. Tabraiz Shamsi’s performance on the speculated spin-friendly wickets will also be key as South Africa look to start the series on a winning note.

Predicted XI

Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (C), Aiden Markram/Heinrich Klaasen, JP Duminy, David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Williem Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi

Players to watch out for

Upul Tharanga- Sri Lanka

Tharanga has been a fulcrum of the Lankan batting lineup for over a decade now, having also played with the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Lankan batsman. With an experience of 223 ODIs, the 33-year-old veteran now will be required to step up for his side. The visitors have a formidable bowling lineup and the team would be hoping for the experienced player to score the runs and guide his team.

Hashim Amla- South Africa

Amla hasn’t been in the best of nicks in international cricket. He flunked in all four innings of the Test series. Moreover, he only has scored 154 runs this year in six matches at an average of 25.66. He has scored one half-century against India, but apart from that, he has been disappointing. The seasoned campaigner would be keen to find some form in the upcoming series.

Head to Head

Matches Played – 66, Sri Lanka won – 29, South Africa won – 35, Tied – 1, No Result – 1

In Sri Lanka

Matches Played – 19, Sri Lanka won – 14, South Africa won – 4, Tied – 0, No Result – 1

Stat Attack

8- ODIs won by South Africa in their last eight matches against Sri Lanka

Broadcast details

TV – Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD

Live streaming– Sony LIV

Match Timings – 09:45 AM IST, 04:15 GMT

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