Sri Lanka vs. South Africa: Winners and Losers from 1st ODI
South Africa made a diabolical start to their five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. The Proteas were hammered by 180 runs in the first game. Kumar Sangakkara led Sri Lanka's charge with a thrilling 169 off 137 balls.
The Proteas were without the services of Hashim Amla, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Dale Steyn, but that should be no excuse for their massive loss.
AB de Villiers was quite up front at the post-match, saying that there aren't many positives to take from the game, but one is that they can't get worse than this.
We pick the winners and losers from the first One-day International. Add yours in the comments.
Loser: The Short Ball
While the short ball can be effective in the shorter format of the game, it did precious little for South Africa. They persisted with the delivery, but Sri Lanka's players picked the ball well and duly dispatched it.
The Proteas' lines and lengths were all jumbled up. If the short ball was touted as their weapon for the series, they will have to go back to the drawing board and rethink their strategy.
Even when bowlers saw their teammates get carted all over the park after bowling a short ball, they bowled them too.
Winner: Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara is having a brilliant year with the bat. His knock of 169, his highest score in one-day cricket, made him the second-highest runscorer in ODIs for 2013 thus far.
He averages 75.55 in the format this year. His knock was the highest score in an ODI by a Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka. The previous best was Aravinda de Silva's 145 at Asgiriya during the 1996 World Cup against Kenya.
As poor as SA's bowling was, one cannot take away from how superb the former Sri Lankan skipper was. When it's your day, it's your day and you take full advantage of it.
Loser: Chris Morris
Chris Morris is a crafty bowler, but he had an absolute nightmare time out in Colombo on Saturday. He conceded 80 runs in nine overs, including six wides.
The Highveld Lions player simply couldn't get his lines and lengths right, and when he did, he was hit all over the place by Kumar Sangakkara anyway.
He'll have to bounce back quickly, though. Lonwabo Tsotsobe's fitness is still in doubt and he has to take the responsibility of leading the attack alongside Morne Morkel. The subcontinent can be unforgiving, but the bowlers seemed to have no plans on how to think batsmen out on Saturday.
Winner: Rangana Herath
After Murali's retirement, so many spinners have had to live in his shadow. Rangana Herath is a crafty spinner and a cunning player who often goes unnoticed.
He ended with three wickets to his name, thanks mostly to South Africa's ineptitude. Still, his worth should not be underestimated. He kept things tight, conceding just 25 runs. That's exactly what's needed when the pressure is on the batting side.
By keeping the run rate low, Herath ensured the pressure would build and South Africa would eventually make mistakes all by themselves.
Winner: Thisara Perera
Not only did Perera hit a quickfire 16 off just 13 balls towards the end of Sri Lanka's innings, he also took three wickets.
As an all-rounder, Perera does the job perfectly for Sri Lanka. He can float up and down the order and hit a few extra runs whenever they are needed. He even hits them when they're not needed.
He's handy with the ball too, and his slower delivery has foxed many a batsman. His contribution on Saturday was a fine effort and while Kumar Sangakkara remains the ultimate winner—Perera did well.
Loser: Colin Ingram
Collin Ingram probably didn't expect to play on Saturday. Alviro Petersen assumed the opening role in the warm-up match, relegating Ingram to the sidelines. Low on match practice, he had to open the batting in place of Hashim Amla.
Amla was out with an injury and Ingram had to make his time out in the middle county. He couldn't do that, though, and was bowled for a first-ball duck.
That might hurt his chances at the top of the order and South Africa might opt for the prowess of Quinton de Kock should Amla not recover from his injury in time.