Bowlers help South Africa take 1-0 lead in the one-day series

Visitors register comfortable five-wicket win in the first ODI of the five-match series

Kagiso Rabada’s stunning spell of fast bowling helped South Africa take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series with a comfortable five-wicket win in Dambulla on Sunday.After registering a comfortable 2-0 triumph in the recently concluded Test series, it was Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews who won the toss and opted to bat first.

His decision, however, backfired as the home side were reduced to 36 for five inside the first nine overs, courtesy Rabada’s brilliant opening spell. A 92-run partnership for the sixth wicket between two Perera’s – Kusal and Thisara – helped Sri Lanka recover to some extent as the home side managed to post a below-par score of 193 before being bowled out in the 35th over.

Kusal finished the innings with the top score of 81 off 72 balls with the help of 11 fours and one six, whereas Thisara scored 49 off just 30 balls with the help of eight fours for the home side. Apart from the Perera duo, only two other batsmen managed to enter double figures for the hosts. For the visitors, pacer Rabada and left-arm chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi was the stars of the show as they both claimed four wickets each.

In reply, South Africa too had a poor start as they lost veteran opener Hashim Amla and highly-rated Aiden Markram at the score of 31 inside the first five overs. But an 86-run partnership for the third wicket between wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and captain Faf du Plessis eased the nerve in the dressing room as Protease reached the target in 31 overs at the expense of just five wickets.

Veteran all-rounder JP Duminy finished the innings with the top score of 53 not out off 32 balls with the help of six fours and two sixes, whereas De Kock and Du Plessis scored 47 each respectively. For Sri Lanka, right-arm off-spinner Akila Dananjaya was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed figures of three for 50 in his 10 overs.

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