Sri Lanka vs. South Africa, 1st ODI: Highlights, Scorecard and Report

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2014

South African one day international team captain AB de Villiers plays a shot as Sri Lankan wicket keeper Kumar Sangakkara watches during the first one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 75 runs in the first ODI at Colombo. The South Africans were buoyed by a stunning display with the bat that culminated in setting Sri Lanka the task of surpassing 304 runs.

That healthy total was established by AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. The pair of thunderous hitters combined to amass 184 runs, per Sky Sports, with Amla topping the century. 

The ICC Twitter feed credited the duo as the main inspiration for South Africa's win:

Both De Villiers and Amla had fun smashing tame and wayward deliveries to the boundary. The scorecards show that the pair feasted on fours, combining for 13:

South Africa Batting Scorecard
Hashim AmlalbwAjantha Mendis10913081
Quinton de KockBowledAngelo Mathews273531
Jacques KallislbwAjantha Mendis0200
AB de VilliersCaught by Nuwan KulasekaraAjantha Mendis757051
Jean-Paul DuminyCaught by Tillakarante DilshanSachitra Senanayake162500
David MillerNot Out362122
Ryan McLarenNot Out221820
Sky Sports and BBC Sport

South Africa clearly found it easy dealing with Sri Lanka's steadily paced bowling attack. The lack of variety, both in trajectory and speed, was a major factor here.

That played into the hands of heavy hitters like De Villiers and Amla. Lasith Malinga endured an inconsistent day, as the scorecard reveals:

Sri Lanka Bowling Scorecard
BowlerOversMaidensRunsWicketsEconomy Rate
Lasith Malinga705207.43
Nuwan Kulasekara602604.33
Sachithra Senanayake1004914.90
Angelo Mathews613015.00
Ajantha Mendis1006136.10
Ashan Privyanjan704706.71
Tillakarante Dilshan403107.75
Sky Sports and BBC Sport

Sri Lanka clearly felt they could target the South Africans with spin. However, without sufficient pace to accompany the spin, the ploy soon became repetitive.

This was one of many strategic gaffes Sri Lanka were guilty of in this international, according to ESPN Cricinfo writer Firdose Moonda:

Despite a speedy start and a sparkling 88 from Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 13 runs and were left to rue the tactical mistakes they made in the first half of the match. They put down de Villiers on 17 and Amla on 49, which cost them, but Angelo Mathews seemed overly reliant on the notion South Africa would struggle against spin. He held his seamers back to his own detriment.

Keeping the seamers off the field particularly suited de Villiers, who has struggled against that type of bowling at times. However, it was a devilish spinner from the productive Ajantha Mendis that eventually caught him out.

Eventually, Sri Lanka took their turn at the wicket. Even with more than 300 to claw back, Sri Lanka's ample batting talent made that tall order a possibility.

It was Kumar Sangakkara who made the best effort, as Sky Sports noted: "Kumar Sangakkara largely carried Sri Lankan hopes of pulling off the testing run-chase but, after he was dismissed for 88 in the 38th over, the writing was on the wall, and it was all over three overs later as the hosts were skittled for 229."

Kumar Sangakkara did his best to torment the South Africans.
Kumar Sangakkara did his best to torment the South Africans.Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

The left-hander played some beautiful and clever strokes to amass runs in chunks early on. In fact, he finished just 12 short of the century.

South African had leg-break bowler Imran Tahir to thank for preserving their lead. He claimed three wickets.

He was aided by McLaren, who contributed two wickets of his own, including seeing off Sangakkara:

Here's the full batting and bowling scorecards from Sri Lanka's innings:

Sri Lanka Batting Scorecard
Kushal PereraCaught by Morne MorkelVernon Philander343360
Tillakarante DilshanCaught by Quinton de KockMorne Morkel404650
Kumar SangakkaraCaught, SubRyan McLaren888490
Mahela JayawardeneCaught by Quinton de KockImran Tahir101600
Ashan PriyanjanCaught by Jacques KallisImran Tahir5800
Angelo MathewsCaught by Quinton de KockMorne Morkel131310
Lahiru ThirimaneBowledRyan McLaren152600
Nuwan KulasekaraBowledDale Steyn1300
Sachithra SenanayakeBowledImran Tahir6510
Ajantha MendisCaught by Ryan McLarenDale Steyn0700
Lasith MalingaNot Out6401
Sky Sports and BBC Sport
South Africa Bowling Scorecard
BowlerOversMaidensRunsWicketsEconomy Rate
Dale Steyn7.303825.07
Vernon Philander804015.00
Morne Morkel703925.57
Ryan McLaren603325.50
Imran Tahir705037.14
Jean-Paul Duminy502404.80
Sky Sports and BBC Sport

As the cards show, Sri Lanka were not as successful at landing the big strikes. That was largely due to the increased and varied pace of the South African bowling attack.

Dale Steyn set a fast pace and his efforts were matched by the equally speedy bowling of Morne Morkel. Sandwiched in between was the medium-paced bowling of Vernon Philander.

By varying the tempo of play, South Africa kept Sri Lanka off balance. Meanwhile, Tahir served as the wild card, presenting a different challenge each time he bowled.

This eclectic approach undermined Sri Lanka's usual powerful batting. It ultimately proved to be the decisive factor in South Africa's victory.