Venue: R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Date: Sunday, July 6
Start time: 5:15 a.m. BST (9:45 a.m. local time)
TV and live stream: SuperSport (South Africa), PTV Sports (Pakistan), Ten Sports (Sri Lanka), Orbit Show Network (Middle East)
Weather: The news from the weather front is not too good. AccuWeather predicts a few thunderstorms throughout the day with hot and humid conditions. The weather shouldn't be so bad that it disrupts the game in its entirety but sit tight for a few breaks here and there.
The last time South Africa visited Sri Lanka for a one-day series, they were hammered 4-1. This happened last year with a South African team not too dissimilar to the one that will walk out to face them on Sunday.
That squad, just like the 2014 edition, also had the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis. It didn't have Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir or Vernon Philander.
The warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Board President's XI brought a convincing 108-run win for the visitors, with Amla scoring a hundred in the process. But warm-up games should not be read into too much. Game time is important and the result is almost irrelevant.
Almost all of the ODIs that South Africa will play in the coming months has an agenda. It’s all building toward the 2015 World Cup. Kallis has returned to the squad and will be reinstated in the No. 3 slot, as per India Times.
There was some doubt over his fitness for the first match, though, as he hurt himself in the warm-up in the tour match. Cricket South Africa sent out a press release which stated that Kallis is likely to be fit for the first ODI after taking part in training on Friday.
But far more important than Kallis is the presence of Steyn. The quick had a tremendous year last year across all formats and while fans will always be concerned for his workload as he heads into the twilight of his career, a fit Steyn is a player everyone will want in their side.
Sri Lanka are on a confidence high after a very successful tour to England. They also have the advantage of the conditions: Warm and hot with tasty turning tracks is not something the South Africans are overly comfortable with.
Sachithra Senanayake will be the biggest challenge for South Africa, but they are not fools. He would have been studied and assessed long before they step onto the pitch on Sunday. On paper, both sides are very strong and this should be a contest for the ages, for those who still care about one-day cricket, anyway.
Far from the player who got hammered in Australia, Imran Tahir has undergone a second coming as of late and he has been immense in limited-overs cricket. A star during the recent World T20, he now has the chance to do similar in the one-day format. With tracks suited to him and a point to prove, Tahir has a very important role to play in this team.
Angelo Mathews had a successful series in England in conditions which he is not used to. On his own turf, he can show that his efforts were no fluke. A gritty batsman and a very tidy bowler, Mathews' all-round role and his captaincy will be crucial for the hosts.
Jean-Paul Duminy, Quinton de Kock(w), AB de Villiers(c), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Ryan McLaren
Angelo Mathews(c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kushal Janith Perera, Kumar Sangakkara(w), Mahela Jayawardene, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Upul Tharanga, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal
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