4 July 2014
Hashim Amla starred for the Proteas in the opening match of their tour of Sri Lanka, striking a 79-ball 104 before retiring as South Africa thrashed a Sri Lanka Cricket Board President’s XI by 108 runs in Moratuwa on Thursday.
The warm-up match saw both teams employ 15-man squads, and for most of the South Africans it was a productive outing.
Faf du Plessis weighed in with 41, captain AB de Villiers matched that score and retired out after only 27 deliveries, while JP Duminy contributed 54 as the Proteas posted 297 for 9 in their 50 overs.
Lahiru Gamage, with 3 for 36 in his 10 overs, and Suraj Randiv, with 3 for 47, were the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lankan Board President’s XI innings
Needing almost six runs an over to win, the Board President’s XI lasted only 39.3 overs before they were bowled out for 189. Randiv top scored with 53, while Dinesh Chandimal made 50.
The South African fast bowlers fared well, with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Ryan MCLaren and Wayne Parnell all getting among the wickets. Morne Morkel, with 3 for 29 in seven overs, was the most successful of the Proteas’ quicks, while off-spinner Aaron Phangiso snapped up 2 for 9 in 2.2 overs.
‘That is what warm-up games are about’
“It was nice to pick up some batting time,” Amla said after the match. “Most of us (batsmen) that got in managed to spend some time at the crease. That is what warm-up games are about.”
“Personally it’s nice to get some runs ahead of the series,” he added. “The thinking ahead of the game was to try and get a few runs, retire out, then get the other batsmen in. After I reached my 50, I figured it was a good time to lift the scoring rate.”
The squad has two more training sessions to fine-tune their game ahead of the first one-day international against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
“From a team perspective, time on our legs was important,” Amla said. “A lot of the players who were involved in the IPL have been out for a month or so. It was good for them to get back into fielding for the whole day. Our 50 overs, along with the training sessions in the heat, are important in helping us acclimatise.”
Concern about Kallis
The only concern for the Proteas was all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who was withdrawn from the match after complaining of stiffness in his back during warm-up drills.
Proteas team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee explained: “This morning he felt some discomfort in the upper right back region and was withdrawn from the match today as a precaution. Our physio, Brandon Jackson, treated him for most of the day and we will monitor him overnight to see how he responds to the treatment.
“If he doesn’t respond to therapy, we will plan to get a scan done tomorrow. We are quite hopeful that some of the stiffness will settle down overnight.”