Sri Lanka falter in chase of 300 despite brisk start

Sri Lanka falter in chase of 300 despite brisk start

Amla hit 103, his 25th one-day worldwide century, as South Africa posted 299 for six from their 50 overs at the Oval. Amla hit just five fours and two sixes for his 103 and faced 115 deliveries in a relatively slow innings according to his own very high standards.

Kohli, who has 27 ODI hundreds now, took 162 innings to bring up his 25th hundred.

Pradeep was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Suranga Lakmal and Seekkuge Prasanna chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Earlier, after winning the toss and electing to bowl, a disciplined Sri Lankan attack restricted the Proteas early on, with it taking them till the seventh over to score their first boundary.

Sri Lanka got off to a solid start reaching 82 for one at the end of the tenth over, but failed to capitalize.

JP Duminy (38no off 20) and Chris Morris (20) helped restore South Africa's advantage somewhat with a handy 45-run partnership before the latter was dismissed by Tharanga, the Sri Lanka skipper throwing down the stumps with a direct hit to typify his team's spirited effort in the field.

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The only player to have three ODI hat tricks, and who has led Sri Lanka to two Cricket World Cup finals, has limited his appearances because of injuries and a preference for Twenty20s. They also fielded with real vim against opponents whose head-to-head run against the Proteas now reads played eight lost eight going back to July 2004. "He bowled well up front and finished things off well for us although he didn't get a wicket". We had Lakshan Sandakan - we could include him in the next game.

3 - Amla took 15 innings to score five ODI centuries against Sri Lanka, which is the third-fastest by any player to score five ODI tons against any country.

De Villiers was thrilled to start the tournament on the right foot, and said: "It wasn't as true a wicket as the England-Bangladesh game".

"We got a couple of wickets to turn the momentum around a bit", de Villiers added. Assisted by the wind and a tinge of grass on the pitch, the Sri Lankans leaked only 32 runs in the first 10 overs. But in that time, they had only bowled their 43rd over and by the time the last bowled of the 49th over was bowled, Sri Lanka had taken 37 extra minutes.

"Immy is a great asset for us", said South Africa skipper De Villiers in a post-match news conference. (On bringing Tahir on late) It was a hard situation, it was just a feeling I got, there was no set plan. "If he picks up one or two wickets he becomes a really unsafe player and I'm sure he'll be a factor throughout the tournament". Really enjoying. Hope it carries on through the tournament.

The 38-year-old's famous celebration, which involves haring round the outfield with arms outstretched while screaming maniacally, got two more outings with the dismissals of Tharanga for 57 and Asela Gunaratne for four. "He had a fantastic performance today".

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