CR 2017: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 96 runs

CR 2017: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 96 runs

Amla's 103, his 25th one-day worldwide ton, should have been the platform for a heftier target in glorious sunshine on a flat Oval pitch.

"It was possible for them to chase it down, but we needed a few early wickets, which we got", said South African captain AB de Villiers. "He did really well to assess the conditions".

When Tharanga fell victim to Tahir after 57 from 69 balls, Sri Lanka found themselves 146-5 midway through their innings.

Tahir took four for 27 and bowled with accuracy and aggressive variation.

Former England batter Ebony Rainford-Brent on TMS: "Sri Lanka could have taken this deeper, but South Africa were very good". De Villiers spoke at length about the need for calmness and intensity.

"Imran was close to 10 out of 10". The team were fined 60 per cent of their match fees.

Upul Tharanga, won the toss and bowled at the Oval, fearful perhaps of some nibble in the air on a sunny south London morning with dark clouds still overhead after the end-of-the-world thunderstorms of the previous day. The opportunity fell to Lasith Malinga, making his first ODI appearance in nearly two years, but he lost his footing as he trod on the boundary rope before spilling the ball.

The only thing lacking from their strong start with the ball were wickets, and though one finally arrived in the 13th - Nuwan Pradeep (2-54) picking up Quinton de Kock (23) caught behind off a lovely delivery that just nipped away off the seam - further breakthroughs were hard to come by.

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He added 145 runs with Francois du Plessis, who contributed with 75 runs off 70 deliveries with six fours. After which he ran hard to reach his 50 off 52 balls, facing some ordinary change bowers. Vice-captain Upul Tharanga is the likeliest candidate to lead the team. His lull coincided with purple patches for Steven Smith, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Joe Root, meaning that even Amla's two IPL hundreds only briefly resurrected the conversation about his all-format ability.

Chris Morris was also influential in taking 2/32. JP Duminy spanked the last ball of the innings into the groundsman's shed. Sri Lanka fought well on either side of the partnership despite having only four specialist bowlers, but with the bat, the Asian side went the other way, collapsing after being 94 for 1 in the 12th over.

Captain A B de Villiers, who could not contribute much with the bat, was at his brilliant best while fielding as he effected a superb high catch (to dismiss Kusal Mendis) and a stunning run out (to dismiss Dinesh Chandimal).

"The run out of Chandimal was costly and then after that Kapugedera got out soon".

At the halfway point Sri Lanka were 154 for 4 and still on target.

Tharanga reached his 50 but departed seven runs later, holing out from Tahir to David Miller on the boundary.

Amla had made 154 in his previous match against Sri Lanka in the final Momentum ODI at SuperSport Park earlier this year and this latest edition was his 25 three-figure score in this format, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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