Having had a close call despite the comfort zone of 300 runs, will certainly be a wake up call to Sri Lanka that the South Africans are no pushovers when the two sides lock horns in the decisive second day-night of the 3-match ODI series at the R. Premadasa International Stadium on SaturdaY. The humdinger 286 for 6 response underlined South Africa’s batting depth going down by 14 runs, and that they mean business. While the Lankan camp will need to plug the loopholes in their bowling ranks to contain the hammer and tong batting approach of the opposition, the result, dejecting as it was, would be a pep up to the Proteas that they do possess the fire power to turn tables on the hosts. That the dictates of the tour opener thrived on batting yielding 586 runs by both sides is an indication that willow works would be the swaying factor to deciding the series on a batting friendly track.
That the Lankans made the difference on a mite faster canter was the thin knife edge to going 1-up. But buoying as it is, the hosts would be wise to it that the South Africans were on the rampage on 159 for 1 by the 23rd over with Aiden Markram going strong when skipper Temba Bavuma was put out of action retiring on 38 by an injury.
In the final countdown, which of the two sides fires the salvos on the center peice batting front will be the decisive factor. That the Lankans boast of several exciting strokemakers from rigkt upfront – Player of the match centurhon Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka. the explosive Bhanuka Rajapaksa who is a type of local Vivian Richards capable of taking the game away from any opposition, but needs to mix caution with aggression, the technical flair of Dhananjaya de Silva and swagger of young Charith Asalanka, deep down to Hasaranga and Karunaratne.
On the opposite end, the South Africans though carry the handicap of an injury ruled out skipper himself Bavuma. The rest – Markram, , Vander Dussein, Klassen, Kyle.