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The Preview by Andrew Fidel Fernando in Colombo
July 22, 2013
Match factsTuesday, July 23, 2013
Big pictureAfter Saturday's 180-run opening loss, South Africa captain AB de Villiers said his side would not spend time dissecting their performance, but would instead attempt to forget the match ever happened. With so many of their best players unavailable, perhaps that is not so bad a ploy. If South Africa's touring party did not seem outmatched in these conditions when they landed, they certainly do now. It will take a great deal of belief and a little luck to overcome an opponent, who has their measure in skill and technical proficiency.
The batsmen will reason they simply had a poor outing, and could not make their risks pay off with such a large total to chase, but foremost among the visitors' woes must be their bowling at the death. The last 12 overs of Sri Lanka's innings not only cost 137, but the South Africa attack also seemed incapable of adhering to any semblance of a plan. Yorkers were missed, often by a distance, and the fast men reverted to a puzzling Plan B of digging the ball in short, despite Kumar Sangakkara having clobbered plenty to the square-leg boundary throughout his innings.
Before the match de Villiers spoke of the potential he saw in Chris Morris and Rory Kleinveldt, but with all his fast bowlers available for the second game, experience may mark the route to success.
South Africa's fielding was also uncharacteristically poor, with a straightforward chance at slip going down early in the innings, before a slew of ground-fielding errors surrendered free runs. Colombo's sticky heat was blamed for the visitors' general raggedness, but in 2013, an unfamiliar climate hardly serves as an adequate excuse for top-level sportsmen. South Africa are capable of being the best fielding side in the world on their day, and de Villiers will hope they have adapted to the heat after a week on the island.
Sri Lanka are not without their own troubles, and for many spectators, Lahiru Thirimanne's unease at the crease even as Sangakkara unleashed mayhem at the other end, epitomised the gulf in class between Sri Lanka's senior players and its youngsters. Thirimanne is batting out of position and lacks the power to perform the finishing role, but he and Dinesh Chandimal must take quickly to the roles they have been assigned, because it is unlikely they will bat in the top order as long as the veterans still take guard.
Form guide(most recent first, last five completed matches)
Players to watchRangana Herath has not always been a part of Sri Lanka's limited-overs plans in the last two years, but he struck thrice for 25 runs in the first match and has asserted himself as his team's best option in ODIs as well as Tests, in the last five months. He has a good record against South Africa, and with Sri Lanka opting for only one frontline slow-bowling option, he needs his spells to be impactful ones.
Morne Morkel had been in doubt for the first match, but took two wickets for 32 from ten overs, while his quick-bowling colleagues traveled at almost seven and nine an over. De Villiers bowled Morkel out in the 44th over, but may hold him back for the final melee on Tuesday, and perhaps Morkel can provide some respite at the death for South Africa.
Pitch and conditionsUnseasonal rain continues to douse Colombo, and South Africa's training session on the eve of the match was interrupted by a downpour. More rain is expected early afternoon on Tuesday, but should clear off in time to allow a match, if only a curtailed one. The pitch is the same strip that saw just under 82 overs on Saturday, and is likely to play slower, particularly as the evening wears on.
Team newsSri Lanka are unlikely to make any changes, with most of their team having fired. Having not been required with the bat on Saturday, Jehan Mubarak will likely get another game.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1. Upul Tharanga, 2. Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3. Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4. Mahela Jayawardene, 5. Lahiru Thirimanne, 6. Dinesh Chandimal (capt), 7. Jehan Mubarak, 8. Thisara Perera, 9. Rangana Herath, 10. Lasith Malinga, 11. Shaminda Eranga
Hashim Amla has not been fully cleared of neck spasms, but de Villiers was hopeful he would play, while Lonwabo Tsotsobe is said to be fully fit. Chris Morris will likely make way for Tsotsobe, while Colin Ingram may make room atop the order for Amla. Both frontline spinners are also likely to get another game.
South Africa (probable): 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Alviro Petersen. 3. JP Duminy, 4. AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5. Faf du Plessis, 6. David Miller, 7. Robin Peterson, 8. Ryan McLaren, 9. Aaron Phangiso, 10. Morne Morkel, 11. Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Stats and trivia
Quotes"We're certainly not the best fielding team in the world yet. I'd like us to be and we've got the potential, but it's frustrating to see us field like we did in the first match. The heat is not an excuse, but it was something new to the guys. In this game they will know what to expect."
"I was successful as a captain in the last match , but you can't judge a captain by just one game. There are more matches to come."
Dinesh Chandimal is keeping his feet on the ground after his first victory as ODI captain
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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