David Warner returned to form with a blistering half-century after Adam Zampa put Sri Lanka in a spin as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket T20 World Cup win.

Warner's place in the side had been called into question due to a lack of runs, but the opener silenced his critics a day after his 35th birthday as Australia made it two wins out two in the Super 12 stage.

Sri Lanka posted 154-6 after Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to field at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday, Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka making 35 apiece before Bhanuka Rajapaksa added an unbeaten 33.

Spinner Zampa flummoxed the Sri Lanka batters, taking 2-12 from his four overs, while Mitchell Starc (2-27) and Pat Cummins (2-34) also did damage.

Josh Hazlewood played a big part with the ball once again without reward and Australia made light work of chasing down their target.

Warner was dropped on 18 but made 65 from 42 balls, and he and captain Finch (37 from 23) laid the platform with an explosive opening stand of 70 from only 6.5 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-22, but Australia eased to their target with three overs to spare to join leaders England on four points in Group 1, Steve Smith making 28 not out and Marcus Stoinis unbeaten on 16.

 Zampa bamboozles Sri Lanka after promising start

Sri Lanka were going along nicely at 53-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they lost their way after the excellent Zampa had Asalanka caught on the sweep by Smith.

The guile of Zampa also saw the back of Avishka Fernando after Starc cleaned up Kusal with a searing yorker, as Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 16 runs.

Rajapaksa added some much-needed late runs, with Stoinis expensive, but Australia were left with a smaller chase than they might have been expecting.

 

Warner grateful for late Kusal gift

Warner had been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and came into this game having scored only 17 runs in his previous five innings.

His frustrating spell would have continued if Kusal had not put down a simple catch behind the stumps and the powerful left-hander made him pay, hitting 10 fours to set his side well on their way to victory.

Finch was also due some runs and looked in ominous touch – bad news for Australia's rivals – as he cleared the rope twice before playing on to Hasaranga.

Charith Asalanka starred and Bhanuka Rajapaksa celebrated his birthday with a half-century as Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by five wickets in the T20 World Cup.

Mohammad Naim (62 off 52 balls) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57 not out from 37) got the Tigers up to 171-4 after they were put in the battle of the qualifiers at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka were in trouble on 79-4 when Wanindu Hasaranga fell after Shakib Al Hasan (2-17) dismissed Pathum Nissanka and Avishka Fernando in the ninth over.

Asalanka and Rajapaksa came to the rescue with a fifth-wicket stand of 86, setting up a victory in their opening Super 12 game that was sealed with seven balls to spare.

Opener Asalanka returned to form with a brilliant unbeaten 80 from 49 balls, while Rajapaksa benefited from two gifts from Liton Das on his 30th birthday.

The left-hander from Colombo was dropped twice by Das and capitalised on those let-offs by scoring 53 off 31 balls before departing in the penultimate over.

Sri Lanka's highest successful run chase moved them level on points with leaders England and Australia in Group 1, also halting a run of three consecutive T20 defeats against the Tigers.

 

TIgers batsmen Naim and Mushfiqur show their teeth

Naim and Mushfiqur played superbly to get the Tigers up to a good total after they were 56-2 in the eighth over when the dangerous Shakib departed, having been cleaned up by Chamika Karunaratne (1-12) for only 10.

Opener Naim brought up his fourth T20I half-century – and a second of the tournament – off 44 balls, finding the rope six times before he was caught and bowled by Binura Fernando. Mushfiqur struck two sixes in an enterprising, classy knock as he brought out his full repertoire of strokes.

Asalanka steps up, Rajapaksa grateful for Das gifts

Sri Lanka had been going along well on 54-1 at the end of the powerplay, but there was work to do when the Rajapaksa joined Asalanka at the crease.

Das spilled the birthday boy in the deep when he was on 14 and then 23 as Bangladesh felt the heat. Asalanka never looked troubled in his maiden T20I half-century, hitting five sixes and as many fours, with Rajapaksa clearing the rope three times in an impressive run chase.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the squads for the upcoming Best v Best men’s red-ball matches.

The panel named 24 players for two three-day fixtures, which will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on October 27-29 and November 1-3. The two teams will be led by Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood.

The players will use these matches as preparations ahead of West Indies’ forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka for two Test matches following the ICC T20 World Cup. The team will depart from Antigua on November 6 and the tour will run until December 4. The full tour squad and schedule will be announced at a later date. The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship after drawing the first Betway Test Series against Pakistan in August.

 “These Best v Best matches are a critical part of the Test team’s preparation for the series in Sri Lanka. For a number of players, it will be the only serious red ball cricket they will have since the Betway Test series against Pakistan and prior to going on this tour. So, it helps to get them back into the groove of the red-ball format and gives the Selection Panel an indication of the players’ readiness for the tour,” said Lead Selector Roger Harper.

SQUAD A: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Jayden Seales, Preston McSween, Nial Smith and Jeremy Solozano.

 SQUAD B: Jermaine Blackwood (Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Imran Khan, Shayne Moseley, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican.

Gerhard Erasmus and David Wiese saw Namibia over the line in an historic eight-wicket win over Ireland that sent the African nation into the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup for the first time.

Set a target of 126 to win in Sharjah, Namibia ensured an automatic place at the next T20 World Cup in Australia with an emphatic victory and eliminated Ireland.

Captain Erasmus top-scored with 53 not out, while Wiese made 28 from 14 deliveries tot propelled the minnows, who only attained ODI status in 2019, through with nine balls to spare.

"It's a dream that's come true. These players were six and seven-year-old boys, dreaming of playing against teams like India and Pakistan. That dream has come true," Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn said.

"All they had in the last few years was to watch these guys on TV and dream about it. They will wake up knowing it's real. I am just so pleased for them. I don't think people really know how limited we are. We are not a cricket organisation with a luxury of great resources."

Jan Frylinck took 3-21 and Wiese claimed 2-22 as Ireland collapsed from 94-2 to 125-8 after Paul Stirling had smashed 38 off 24 balls.

Namibia will be in Group 2 of the Super 12s along with India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Scotland.

In Friday's other match, already-qualified Sri Lanka made light work of the Netherlands in an eight-wicket thrashing

Sri Lanka beat the Netherlands by nine wickets in their only previous T20I meeting, en route to winning the 2014 World Cup, and they skittled the European nation out for 44 in just 10 overs.

The Dutch had no answer to Lahiru Kumara (3-7) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3-9) and Maheesh Theekshana (2-3) before they cruised to victory in only 7.1 overs, Kusal Perera making 33 not out.

The Super 12s get under way on Saturday, with Australia facing South Africa and England taking on reigning champions West Indies.

Sri Lanka are through to the T20 World Cup Super 12 after a dominant 70-run win over Ireland.

Wanindu Hasaranga's 47-ball 71, along with 61 from Pathum Nissanka, which came from the same amount of deliveries, propelled the 2014 winners to 171-7.

The 172 target proved well beyond Ireland, who were dismissed for 101 with nine balls left, Hasaranga also taking a wicket and bowling a team-high 14 dot balls in a Man of the Match display.

It means Sri Lanka can top Group A with a win over the Netherlands, whose hopes came to an end with defeat to Namibia.

Max O'Dowd hit a 56-ball 70 for Netherlands as they posted 164-4, however, David Wiese's unbeaten 66 ensured Namibia got over the line for a six-wicket win with six balls left.

England are among the tournament favourites and they underlined that status with a 13-run warm-up win over New Zealand in which Jos Buttler delivered a scarcely needed reminder of his class by hitting 11 fours and two maximums for his 73.

Mark Wood (4-23) and Adil Rashid (3-18) impressed with the ball for England, who were runners-up in 2016 to West Indies.

The Windies seemingly have work to do ahead of the Super 12 after a 56-run defeat to Afghanistan, who saw Hazratullah Zazai (56) and Mohammad Shahzad (54) hit half-centuries.

Rassie van der Dussen, meanwhile, looks in ominous form for South Africa, his 51-ball 101 comprising of 10 fours and four maximums as South Africa saw off Pakistan by six wickets.

Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

Quinton de Kock blasted an unbeaten 59 as South Africa sealed a T20I series whitewash over Sri Lanka with a 10-wicket win on Tuesday.

The Proteas, who clinched the series victory on Sunday, completed another routine win after the hosts limped to a run-a-ball 120-8, with Kagiso Rabada and Bjorn Fortuin taking two wickets apiece.

De Kock, who top-scored with 58 not out against in the previous game, was ably supported by Reeza Hendricks (56 not out) as the pair sealed victory inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka opening batsmen Kusal Perera offered the most resistance, making 39, but when he was dismissed by Keshav Maharaj with the score at 80-5, the hosts failed to reach an imposing total once more.

Chamika Karunaratne managed an unbeaten 24 – his highest score in the format – but with De Kock and Hendricks racing to 46 without loss after the powerplay, another victory for the tourists was all but confirmed.

De Kock reached his 11th T20I fifty, and fifth for the year, off 40 balls and Hendricks followed suit, recording his sixth T20I half-century in two balls fewer as Maharaj's side triumphed with 32 balls remaining.

Miserly Maharaj

De Kock will steal the headlines with more top-order fireworks, but captain Maharaj should take credit as well as he continues to improve ahead of the spinning surfaces that await him at the T20 World Cup.

The left-armer assumed the captaincy role for his first ever T20I series and, in the final match, bowled a game-high 12 dot balls as he conceded just 14 runs from his full allocation, including the wicket of Perera.

Persistent Perera

Perera scored a third of his team's runs in the second T20I as he made 30 off 25 balls and he almost repeated the feat on Tuesday with his highest score of 2021.

However, the opener was not supported by his team-mates, with only Karunaratne and Dasun Shanaka (18) troubling the opposition bowlers, who dominated once more in Colombo.

Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The death bowling specialist had already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and subsequently from 50-over internationals in 2019 as well, but the 38-year-old has now confirmed he will no longer play T20Is either.

The paceman, who took 546 wickets across all formats for his country, captained his side to the T20 World Cup title in 2014 and flourished in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Mumbai Indians.

Malinga, who is the only player to take three ODI hat-tricks, managed 107 wickets in 84 internationals in the T20I format and his last appearance for Sri Lanka came against West Indies in March 2020.

"I've had many experiences throughout my career, and I want to share all of my experience in the future, especially with young cricketers," said Malinga in a post on Twitter.

He added on his YouTube channel: "I will be continuously supporting the younger generations who strive to uplift the spirit of the game and I will always be there with all who love the game.

"I want to thank each and everyone who supported me throughout my T20 journey. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and team members. And Mumbai Indians cricket team, especially the team owners and officials."

Quinton de Kock hit an unbeaten 58 as South Africa clinched the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a nine-wicket thumping on Sunday.

The Proteas, who won Friday's opener in the series by 28 runs, were hardly tested by their flat opponents, who managed just 103 in 18.1 overs. That was their lowest first-innings total at home in this short format.

South Africa wasted little time chasing that figure down, De Kock helping them open up a 2-0 series lead inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka had little answer to South Africa's spinners – Bjorn Fortuin, Aiden Markram, captain Keshav Maharai and Tabraiz Shamsi – who took nine wickets and conceded just 63 runs in their 14.1 overs.

Markram finished with a career-best three for 21, which included the wicket of opener Kusal Perera for 30.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka's next highest scorer with 20 as the hosts lost seven for a paltry 32 runs between the 10th and 19th overs.

Sri Lanka failed to get rid of De Kock with a review following the fourth delivery of South Africa's innings and the 28-year-old did not look back.

He brought up his 10th T20I fifty, and fourth of the year, after his opening stand with Reeza Hendricks was broken in the ninth over when Hendricks was caught by Dinesh Chandimal off the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga.

Markram added an unbeaten 21 as South Africa reached their target with almost seven overs to spare.

De Kock proves his importance

De Kock was rested for the ODI series, which Sri Lanka won 2-1, and he showed his worth here. He steered his side to victory with an unbeaten 58 off 48 deliveries and will be a key figure if South Africa are to challenge for the T20 World Cup, which begins next month.

Perera not backed up by team-mates

Perera got Sri Lanka off to a solid start with 30 from 25 balls, but his team-mates failed miserably to capitalise. The 31-year-old, making his comeback after recovering from COVID-19, hit a third of his side's runs, with only three others reaching double figures.

South Africa put the disappointment of losing the ODI series behind them as they eased to a 28-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening T20I on Friday.

Led by Aiden Markram's excellent 48 from 33 balls, the Proteas were on dominant form in Colombo, successfully defending their 163-5 total.

Making his T20I debut, South Africa captain Keshav Maharaj won the toss and chose to bat, with his openers swiftly proving that decision correct.

Quinton de Kock (36) set the tone with a boundary off the second ball and Reeza Hendricks soon skittled off 12 runs in the space of three deliveries to get South Africa up and running.

Both openers had moved into the 30s by the ninth over, though De Kock was the first to fall when he sliced a sweep to deep midwicket.

Wanindu Hasaranga picked up his and Sri Lanka's second wicket in his next over, dismissing Hendricks for 38, but Markram – with support from David Miller (26) – put South Africa back on the front foot.

Markram fell just short of a half-century in the penultimate over, though the damage was done as South Africa set a challenging target of 164.

Sri Lanka started their chase confidently, and had 34 runs in the bank by the time Avishka Fernando succumbed in the sixth over.

Yet Maharaj's first ball in a T20I brought up the Proteas' second wicket – Bhanuka Rajapaksa going for a duck – and the hosts failed to keep up the run rate.

That was despite the best efforts of Dinesh Chandimal, who top-scored with 66 not out, but Chamika Karunaratne (22no) was his only team-mate to make it above 20 as Sri Lanka were limited to 135-6.

Memorable debut for Maharaj

Installed as captain on his maiden T20I appearance, the spinner took a wicket with his very first ball, after South Africa's batsmen had shown just why the 31-year-old was right to bat first.

Maharaj has plenty of international experience, with 36 Tests and 14 ODIs under his belt, and in total he has now taken 149 wickets for his country.

Chandimal cannot carry Sri Lanka

It was a valiant effort from Chandimal, whose unbeaten 66 included five fours and two sixes. However, he did not have the necessary support from the rest of Sri Lanka's batsmen, with two going for ducks and Dhananjaya de Silva only scoring one.

Chandimal did bring up his highest score in his T20I career, though, with the wicketkeeper's previous best having been 58, a score he made twice in 2016, against Pakistan and Australia.

South Africa are confident Keshav Maharaj can provide inspiring stand-in leadership as the spinner marks his T20I debut by captaining the Proteas against Sri Lanka.

Almost five years have passed since Maharaj made his Test bow against Australia, while his first ODI appearance came in 2017 on the tour of England.

It is high time 31-year-old Maharaj was seen in the shortest format, and he enters with the added responsibility of leading the team, having also skippered the tourists in the second and third ODIs against Sri Lanka.

With regular captain Temba Bavuma sidelined by a fractured thumb, Maharaj, who was named ahead of George Linde in South Africa's T20 World Cup squad on Thursday, gets his chance to show what he can do in the quick-fire game.

South Africa sealed a 3-2 T20I series win over West Indies in July, and they sit fifth in the ICC team rankings, four places above the Sri Lanka side they will face in three matches, to be played in Colombo on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday.

Having lost 2-1 to Sri Lanka in the ODIs, South Africa are seeking succour. Convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang described Maharaj on Thursday as "an excellent leader", whose "exemplary captaincy" can be a steadying short-term influence.

Speaking this week, Maharaj said of his temporary new duty: "It was overwhelming at the start. I was actually nervous before I got to the field in my first game but I really enjoyed being the captain of the national team.

"Unfortunately I could not help the team cross the line in the third and final match [in the ODIs] but I thoroughly enjoyed the captaincy."

He added, according to Times Live: "I feel captaincy gives me a bit of responsibility, it keeps me calmer and it gives me a different outlook of the game."

The T20 World Cup will take place in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and by edging cup holders West Indies in the run-up, South Africa believe they are in good shape.

That view could be coloured by what happens in the coming days, but batsman David Miller sees things from a positive perspective.

Miller said, quoted on iol.co.za, "What we've been through in the last couple of months, I believe, has been a huge stepping stone in our T20 campaign. We took a lot of confidence from beating the West Indies.

"We still need to work out different combinations. In T20 you need to be flexible. That is something that we will get right. There have been areas in the last few months in the fielding department where we can certainly improve. We are aware of it."

 

HASARANGA TEST FOR PROTEAS

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga marked his 24th birthday in grand style on his last T20I appearance, taking staggering figures of 4-9 against India in Colombo on July 20 to set up his team for a series-winning victory. It is clear he represents a big threat to South Africa, with his strike rate in T20I power play this year standing at six, the best rate among all bowlers to have a delivered a minimum of 20 balls.

Sri Lanka were beaten 3-0 by the Proteas the last time these teams met in a T20I series. That was in South Africa in March 2019, with the hosts winning the opening match on a one-over eliminator after the contest finished tied.

TOURISTS WELCOME BACK RESTED STARS

South Africa allowed Quinton de Kock, Miller and Lungi Ngidi to sit out the ODI series. De Kock and Miller return for the upcoming three games, crunch match practice now the World Cup countdown is on.

De Kock needs just two more dismissals to record the second most by a wicketkeeper in men's T20I matches. He currently has 62 dismissals and only has MS Dhoni (91) and Denesh Ramdin (63) above him.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Sri Lanka have won their last two men’s T20I matches at home, the last time they registered more consecutive wins in this format at home was in 2012 (4 matches).

– South Africa have won their last four men's T20I matches on the road. The last time they registered more such wins in a row was in 2009 (5 matches).

– Sri Lanka have a chance to register a hat-trick of men’s T20I wins for the first time at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. They won their last two matches at this venue against India (July 28 and 29). They have one win and a loss against South Africa at this venue.

– Sri Lanka have a batting strike rate of 114 in men’s T20I since the beginning of 2020, the poorest among all Test-playing nations in this format; South Africa have a strike rate of 142, the fourth best during this period.

– South Africa have a catch success percentage of 75 per cent in men’s T20I since the beginning of 2020, the poorest rate among Test playing nations. They have dropped 35 of the 140 chances presented to them.

Debutant Maheesh Theekshana produced a stunning performance with the ball to inspire Sri Lanka to a series-clinching ODI win over South Africa.

An unconvincing batting display saw Sri Lanka post a slightly disappointing total of 203-9 after the hosts won the toss for the third and final match.

However, that modest target proved well beyond the tourists, who were undone by Theekshana's off-spin in an innings interrupted by rain.

Theekshana took 4-37 as the Proteas were skittled for 125, ensuring Sri Lanka secured a 78-run victory in style.

Charith Asalanka, the top run-scorer in the series, was the sole Sri Lanka player to excel with the bat, scoring 47 off 71 deliveries.

Dhananjaya de Silva (31) did threaten to post a big score yet he failed to build on his encouraging start and Dushmantha Chameera added a quick 29 off 39 balls.

But the success of the South Africa spinners, with captain Keshav Maharaj taking 3-38 and George Linde (2-32) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2-31) also excelling, provided clear encouragement for Theekshana and the Sri Lanka attack.

They wasted no time in making inroads, reducing South Africa to 19-3 inside five overs. Janneman Malan (18) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) steadied the ship with a stand of 36 but Theekshana got Malan caught in the slips and then trapped Klaasen lbw either side of Wiaan Mulder (2) being bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga (2-32).

Linde (18) and Andile Phehlukwayo (17) mounted something of a recovery from 54-6, but it did not last, and it was Theekshana who had the final say when he drew an edge from Maharaj.

Theek tough

The selection of Theekshana proved inspirational and captain Dasun Shanaka heaped praise on the 21-year-old at the post-match presentation.

"Theekshana was our trump card," said the skipper. "He's more of a T20 bowler but I used him wisely in this match. He's a real prospect going forward."

Chameera's all-round impact

Theekshana, however, was not the man of the match. That honour went to Chameera, who along with Klaasen struck the most fours in a low-scoring contest, finding the rope three times.

He followed up his effort with the bat by taking 2-16, with the early dismissals of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen putting South Africa in a hole they never looked like escaping.

Janneman Malan's 121 and a Tabraiz Shamsi five-for led South Africa to a 67-run win by DLS in a rain-affected second ODI against Sri Lanka, levelling the three-match series in Colombo.

A downpour delayed the start and limited the contest to 47 overs, which became 41 in the second innings after more rain – Sri Lanka's target of 284 trimmed to 265.

But the Proteas were never in trouble. Despite missing injured captain Temba Bavuma and the rested Quinton de Kock, stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj was quickly rewarded for his decision to bat first.

Opener Malan stuck around for three hours and 17 minutes, during which time he enjoyed stands of 96 for the second wicket with Reeza Hendricks (51) and 86 for the fourth with Heinrich Klaasen (43).

Dushmantha Chameera belatedly got Klaasen and Malan from consecutive deliveries, but by that point there were just 12 balls remaining, with South Africa finishing on 283-6.

Given Avishka Fernando had been the match-winner for Sri Lanka in the series opener, making at least 50 in a third consecutive ODI, it quickly became clear this would not be their day when he went early for eight to a much-improved Kagiso Rabada (2-16).

Charith Asalanka starred alongside Avishka in the previous match and only he truly threatened to make a fight of the chase, scoring 77 off 69 – including three sixes – either side of the rain delay.

Chamika Karunaratne's late flurry (36 off 23, two sixes) was then ended by Maharaj, and Shamsi tidied up the tail for career-best figures of 5-49, leaving Sri Lanka well short, all out for 197.

Patient approach pays off

Sri Lanka's pace bowling attack has been effective in preventing boundaries this year, giving up just 44 per cent of their total runs conceded through fours and sixes ahead of this match – the second-lowest proportion among Test-playing nations in 2021, behind Bangladesh (42 per cent). But this did not slow Malan, who hit only 10 of the 135 balls he faced to the boundary but ran 65 singles, perhaps explaining his struggles with cramp.

Rabada back to his best

A poor showing from the Proteas' premier fast bowler in the first ODI saw him give up 66 runs, tied for the third-most in his career in this format. Yet Rabada was back on song from the outset on Saturday. He took two wickets in a stunning fifth over, conceding only a single run and prompting a further lbw review.

Rabada's contribution was overshadowed by Shamsi's efforts, but the Proteas need their main man to fire, meaning an ankle sprain in the field provides some concern.

South Africa one-day captain Temba Bavuma has been ruled out for the remainder of the Proteas' ODI series in Sri Lanka with a fractured thumb.

The skipper suffered the freak injury during Wednesday's first ODI that, inspired by centurion Avishka Fernando, the hosts won by 14 runs.

Bavuma was inadvertently struck from a fielder's throw-in during the 26th over at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

Persistent discomfort saw him retire hurt two overs later, with scans later revealing a fracture.

Bavuma will return to South Africa for further treatment, from which his recovery time will be determined.

Keshav Maharaj will deputise as captain for the second ODI of the three-match series on Saturday.

 

Avishka Fernando's third ODI century set Sri Lanka on course for a 14-run win in the opener of their three-match series against South Africa.

The Proteas were always fighting a losing battle in Colombo after allowing Sri Lanka to make 300-9 – their highest total in 50-over cricket in 2021.

Avishka (118) was the star with the bat, putting on 79 in a partnership with Dhananjaya de Silva (44) that was disrupted briefly by a rain delay, with better to come as he was joined in the middle by Charith Asalanka (72).

That stand of 97 for the fourth wicket put Sri Lanka in command, as a bowling attack led by Kagiso Rabada (2-66) struggled to keep them in check.

South Africa were no more than steady in reply and keenly felt the dismissal of Aiden Markram to an outstanding Wanindu Hasaranga catch after 96 runs, including four sixes.

Captain Temba Bavuma had already retired hurt after taking a blow to his hand, and Rassie van der Dussen's departure preceded some superb death bowling to see Sri Lanka comfortably over the line – the Proteas short of their target on 286-6.

Profitable partnership

With the exception of Keshav Maharaj, who gave up 30 runs in 10 overs for his most economical ODI return, South Africa's bowlers were really poor. But Avishka and Asalanka still had to capitalise and did exactly that with a vital partnership that scored at 8.19 an over.

Denied at the death

South Africa required 41 off 25 when Van der Dussen departed, yet they mustered only two more boundaries – both fours from Rabada in the final over when the chase was up. Hasaranga started well and finished strongly, too, slowing Heinrich Klaasen in giving up just three from the 47th over.

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