Home side welcomes back AB de Villiers and other big guns but will miss Lungi Ngidi, the young paceman
Confident after its first series victory in any format in South Africa, Sri Lanka goes into the first One-Day International of a five-match series at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (January 28) with the camp in an upbeat mood.
Sri Lanka won its first trophy on its fifth visit to South Africa when it sealed a 2-1 Twenty20 International series win with a five-wicket triumph in the final game at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday, and Niroshan Dickwella, who was named Man of the Series, said in the lead up to the first ODI that “the whole team is backing up our strengths now”.
As was the case in the final T20I, Sri Lanka will be without Angelo Mathews, its captain, as well as Nuwan Pradeep, the fast bowler who has a hand injury, and Danushka Gunathilaka, who is down with a back problem. Upul Tharanga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the ODI tri-series featuring Zimbabwe and West Indies in Zimbabwe in November last year, will lead the side in Mathews’s absence.
The trend of good batting pitches is likely to continue in the 50-over games, but the quality of the South African opposition is markedly better.
South Africa rested many of its leading players during the T20Is but the big guns will be back in action as the preparations for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 picks up.
Russell Domingo, the South African coach, said fit-again ODI captain AB de Villiers would slot back into the team at No. 4 in the batting order behind Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis, with JP Duminy and David Miller likely to follow. Only Miller was in the original T20I squad, but de Villiers made his international return and scored 63 in the series decider.
Unfortunately, South Africa will go into the series without Lungi Ngidi, who was picked for the ODI series after putting in a stellar show in the T20Is but has since picked up a left abdominal muscle wall injury.
Meanwhile, the competition for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 places for the all-rounders is likely to intensify with Chris Morris back after a six-month injury layoff, while Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius are all in the mix too.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Chaturanga de Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thikshila de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Madushanka, Kusal Mendis, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Sandun Weerakkody.