Sorry Sri Lanka humbled in Paarl
Sri Lanka were skittled for a woeful 43 as they suffered a humiliating 258-run defeat at the hands of South Africa in the first one-day international of five in Paarl.
Chasing 302 for victory, the tourists initially slumped to 13 for six inside eight overs and only limped past the lowest ODI score in history - Zimbabwe’s 35 against Sri Lanka in 2004 - thanks to Kosala Kulasekara’s 19.
Kulasekara, the only Sri Lanka batsman to reach double figures, eventually fell to Morne Morkel, who finished as the pick of the bowlers with 4-10 from six overs. Fellow paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe returned 3-19 as Sri Lanka failed to overhaul their previous lowest total of 55.
Opener Hashim Amla had earlier struck 112 to underpin a home total of 301 for eight that also featured 72 from Jacques Kallis and a brisk 52 from AB de Villiers, leading South Africa for the first time since being appointed as his country’s permanent one-day captain.
By the time de Villiers departed in the 41st over, South Africa appeared on course to comfortably surpass 300. However, they were unable to accelerate as they would have wished in the closing overs, as Lasith Malinga picked up wickets at regular intervals en route to figures of 5-54.
If the hosts had any concerns over their failure to fully capitalise on such a solid platform, those worries swiftly evaporated as Sri Lanka produced an abysmal response with the bat.
Upul Tharanga paid for a lack of foot movement in the first over when he was superbly caught by JP Duminy in the gully off Morkel, and skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan also failed to score as he gloved an inswinging Tsotsobe delivery through to wicketkeeper de Villiers.
Tsotsobe then bowled Dinesh Chandimal and the usually reliable Kumar Sangakkara was caught behind after flashing at a short ball from Morkel, who went on to have Angelo Mathews caught on the leg side for a duck.
When Jayawardene cut an innocuous Tsotsobe delivery straight to point, Zimbabwe’s lowest total appeared in serious danger, but Kulasekara, showing a great deal more application than many of his team-mates, survived 46 balls to at least salvage the smallest shred of respectability.
Kulasekara became the ninth man to fall when he holed out to deep square-leg off Morkel and the match was brought to an end two balls later as Robin Peterson trapped Dilhara Fernando lbw to claim his second wicket.
Such a spectacular collapse had seemed unlikely earlier in the day as South Africa, who won the toss, eased to an imposing total on the back of another fine innings from Amla, the world’s number one ranked ODI batsman.
The 28-year-old struggled to find his usual fluency early on and saw opening partner Graeme Smith fall cheaply to Malinga, who produced a superb delivery to find the left-hander’s outside edge.
However, it wasn’t long before the Proteas took control, Amla gradually growing in confidence in the company of a dominant Kallis, fresh from a sublime double hundred in last week’s third Test in Cape Town.
De Villiers provided additional momentum with an enterprising 40-ball knock featuring seven fours, while Amla moved to three figures before becoming the third of Malinga’s five victims.