In-form du Plessis makes century in emphatic Proteas win

By Sports Desk March 03, 2019

Faf du Plessis made a classy unbeaten century and Imran Tahir tormented Sri Lanka as South Africa started the one-day international series by easing to an eight-wicket win at the Wanderers.

Captain du Plessis passed 50 for the sixth time in his last eight innings after being dropped on 32 and went on to finish 112 not out off 114 balls in an emphatic win for the Proteas on Sunday.

Kusal Mendis (60) was the only Sri Lanka batsman to make a half-century as they collapsed to 231 all out, Tahir taking 3-26 and the fit-again Lungi Ngidi claiming 3-60 in his first international since recovering from a knee injury.

Du Plessis and Quinton de Kock (81 from 72 balls) put South Africa well on their way to a victory which was secured with 11.1 overs to spare, putting the hosts 1-0 up in the five-match series.

Ngidi made up for lost time by removing both openers cheaply after du Plessis won the toss, Niroshan Dickwella caught and bowled before Upul Tharanga chopped on.

Oshada Fernando smashed Kagiso Rabada and Ngidi for huge sixes and Kusal Perera dispatched debutant Anrich Nortje for back-to-back boundaries before edging behind in Tahir's first over.

Mendis was successful with a review after being given out leg before to Tahir but South Africa were celebrating again when Fernando was run out for 49 after a mix-up off the next delivery.

The stylish Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva came together at 101-4 and produced a much-needed stand, the former clattering Dwaine Pretorius for six over midwicket as he raced to a half-century.

Yet Sri Lanka capitulated after Tahir had Dhananjaya (39) stumped, the spinner also removing Mendis as Lasith Malinga's side lost six wickets for 36 runs in the space of 10 overs - Nortje claiming a first international victim.

Vishwa Fernando snared Reeza Hendricks caught behind early in South Africa's run chase, but du Plessis was in great touch as he hit Thisara Perera for three consecutive boundaries before being dropped by Lakshan Sandakan off the next ball.

Du Plessis swept Dhananjaya for six to reach his half-century and de Kock whipped Malinga for four to reach his 50 and upped his scoring rate to overtake his skipper, setting about Sandakan and Akila Dananjaya.

De Kock looked destined for a hundred until he fell leg before to Dananjaya, but du Plessis reached an 11th ODI with a quick single and Rassie van der Dussen made 32 not out in an emphatic win.

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