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Amla hundred helps Proteas overcome Sri Lanka in first ODI

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The South Africans took a handsome 1-0 series lead as they gave the Sri Lankans a 75-run hammering in the first ODI in Colombo. After setting the hosts a target of 305 courtesy a fine hundred from Hashim Amla, the Proteas countered a threatening knock from Kumar Sangakkara to bundle the Sri Lankans out for just 229.

Young Quinton De Kock walked out to bat with the Hashim Amla after skipper AB De Villiers won the toss and elected to bat first. The duo gave their side a good start adding 58 for the first wicket inside 13 overs before the Lankans put a brake on their charge as De Kock chopped one onto his stumps following which Jacques Kallis, who had question marks over his fitness before this game, walked rather quickly back to the pavilion for a 17TH ODI duck.

Amla, who was well set on 25, looked to consolidate along with De Villiers following the mini-hiccup. The Sri Lankans nearly had a third wicket but De Villiers was dropped by Angelo Mathews on 17, with the score on 91-2. It was then Amla’s turn to be given a reprieve as he was dropped on 49 by a diving Thisara Perera at long-on. The Sri Lankans were then made to pay heavily as the pair added 151 for the third wicket with the Proteas crossing the 200-run mark in 35 overs.

Mendis had De Villiers caught at long-off for a 70-ball 75, leaving South Africa in a commanding position at 211-3 in 36 overs before Hashim Amla brought up a well deserved hundred in the company of JP Duminy, especially after a shaky start early on as the Proteas looked to accelerate in the last 10 overs. However, Mendis ended Amla’s stay at the crease, trapping him in front of stumps for 109 before Duminy scooped one straight to Dilshan at short cover for 16, denting South Africa’s hopes of finishing well with the score at 249-5.

David Miller set things right as middled some big sixes in the company of Ryan Mclaren as the two batsmen ensured their side didn’t fall back from posting a massive total. The Proteas finished on 304-5, with Miller unbeaten on 36 off 21 balls while Mclaren reached 22 off 18 balls.

Sri Lankan openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kushal Perera started well as they breezed to 50 in 8 overs before Vernon Philander had Perera caught at short fine leg for a 33-ball 34. Dilshan threatened to score big after a solid start but was caught behind off Morne Morkel for 40, leaving Sri Lanka on 98-2 in the 17th over. Mahela Jayawardene didn’t last long at the wicket as leggie Imran Tahir enticed him to cut, thus getting him to edge one to the keeper for 10. Tahir struck in his very next over as well, dismissing Ashan Priyanjan for 5, leaving Sri Lanka in a bit of trouble at 138-4. Morkel soon returned and picked up the big wicket of Angelo Mathews, getting him to edge one behind for 13.

Meanwhile, Sangakkara at the other end worked his way to a solid fifty despite wickets tumbling opposite him as he would soon find some valuable support in Lahiru Thirimanne. The duo added 52 for the 5th wicket and brought their side back in the chase before South Africa clawed back through Ryan Mclaren who struck twice in one over, removing Thirimanne for 15 before dismissing Sangakkara for 88, thus destroying Sri Lankan hopes of a win with the scoreboard reading 217-7

The Proteas wasted no time in wiping out the tail completely, as Dale Steyn went through the defence of Nuwan Kulasekera for 1, following which Tahir knocked over Sachitra Senanayake for 6. Mendis was the last man dismissed as Mclaren held onto a swirler off Dale Steyn. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 229, falling 76 runs short of the target.

The South Africans are looking a much better unit on their visit to Sri Lanka this time around and will be eager to seal the three-match ODI series in the next game.

Mini scorecard:

South Africa, 304-5 (50 overs, 6.08 rpo)

H Amla 109 (130)  A Mendis 3-61 (10)

AB De Villiers 75 (70) S Senanayake 1-49 (10)

Sri Lanka, 229 all out (40.3 overs, 5.65 rpo)

K Sangakkara 88 (84)  I Tahir 3-50 (7)

T Dilshan 40 (46)  D Steyn 2-38 (7.3)

South Africa win by 75 runs