Daijiworld Media Network
Colombo, Jul 20 : The first of five ODI cricket match is underway at Colombo. Sri Lanka is facing South Africa without its skipper Angelo Mathew, who is facing two match ban for poor bowling rate during tri-series held at West Indies recently.
Dinesh Chandimal is leading the Lankan side.
With no Test matches played between Sri Lanka and South Africa in the current tour , the Proteas should not bother to defend their number one rank presently in the Test arena, but it is certain that they will come hard on the Sri Lankans to establish themselves in the One day format when the two countries meet each other in the 1st of the five ODI series for the 'Dialog' Cup in a day/night game at the R.Premadasa Stadium, Khettarama today.
However, the Proteas are left with a crisis situation in danger of losing two of their main pace bowlers, Morne Morkel who left the field during the warm up game on Wednesday after bowling three overs with quad niggle and the other pacie Lonwabo Tsotssobe also injured in addition to the injury of Dale Steyn who did not make the tour due to injury.
Dinesh Chandimal who became the youngest Sri Lankan captain at 23 years and 243 days besides World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga who led his country at 24 years and 333 days will be leading the side in the first two ODIÓs, said that Angelo Mathews is the regular captain of the side and he had a good run in the last few games , and it is not easy to fit into Mathews role as the captain, but with a host of young players, and support coming from the seniors players like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and T.M.Dilshan who will be there to sought advice, Chandimal expressed his confidence to do well in the two games where he has been bestowed with the captaincy. He said that a good start is one of the important factors to put up a big score and put the South Africans under pressure. The visitors are strong. So we hope for a good start and build a challenging total. Chandimal said that he was sincerely happy of being appointed as the captain for the two games as any cricketers dream is to lead the country and said his duty is to win matches with a combine team effort and bring glory to the country.
Chandimal further said that there is every possibility that new comer Angelo Perera and seasoned player Jehan Mubarak could find a place in the side after the final inspection of the pitch.
" I admit that I failed as a batsman in the last two tours, I believe that I have nothing to lose, I have only to rise from this position as a batsman and a captain. As a batsman there are instances where we are unable to score runs at times, but as a captain and a good player one should know how to come back to your own, by scoring runs. So I hope to do well at the end of the tour." said Chndimal.
Both teams have tagged themselves as poor finishers or in their own words 'chokers' while performing in the recently concluded Champions Trophy in England mainly due to losing from winning positions and the South Africans are eager to win a ODI series here in Sri Lanka which they have never achieved in the past.
The South African new coach Russel Domigo who will be also making his first tour as a coach will no doubt be aware of the hosts capabilities in their own back yard and one could expect a hard fought series in the 5 ODI's and the three T20 games . Initially the tour included three Test matches in addition to the five ODI's and the three T20 matches, but unfortunately on a request by SLC the three Test matches had to be postponed to accommodate the Sri Lankan T20 Premier League. which was cancelled recently.
South Africa will miss many of their experience players namely, Dayle Steyn who spearheads their opening bowling attack, Greame Smith who also missed the Champions trophy due to an ankle injury with Steyn. Smith needs at least four months to recover while his wife is expecting their second child in August. Star all-rounder Jacques Kallis made himself unavailable for the tour and the Champions trophy as well. However, the Proteas will have the services of the experience paceman Mornie Morkel who will make a come back after missing the Champions Trophy Tourney. South Africa has made one change from their ICC Champions Trophy out fit bringing in wicket keeper Quinton de Kock who could fit in as an opener to partner Hashim Amla. But, for Quinton de Kock to find the place in the final XI he will have a tussle with Alviro Peterson.
The South African skipper A.B.de Villiers also expressed his confidence playing without three of their top players Greame Smith,Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn saying that the trio did not take part in the ICC Champions Trophy as well and they are getting used to playing without them. We should specially aim at the 2015 World Cup we should expose the young and inexperience guys. It is a big opportunity for us to perform with out the big names he said.
" The first game will be very important, in fact every game is important. But it is nice to go on a winning start. On the other day, we nearly got out of the warm -up game ,but we won it. We played really well . We should get use to the weather conditions ,it's quite hot .We prepared as well we can ." said Villiers.
Sri Lanka will be playing it's third consecutive limited overs series in two months with the Champions Trophy and the Tri Nation series in the West Indies preceding it.
Skipper Angelo Mathews who will be out of the first two one dayers due to the ICC suspending him for two ODI matches due to a slow over rate during the Tri Nations series in the West Indies , said that the Sri Lankans are looking forward for the South Africans visit ,as it has been a long time they are back here since 2006 and said that the South Africans are waiting to come back hard at us.
" With two tough series which we had in England and the West Indies .we played some good cricket to get to the semi -finals in the Champions trophy and get to the finals once again against India in the West Indies. We know we disappointed the whole country , but we played some good cricket there, but we were not good enough to win a series. While wishing all the best for the South Africans let's play some exciting cricket" said the Sri Lankan captain.
South Africa from. A.B.De Villiers (Captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behhardien, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Jean Paul Duminy, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Sri Lanka. Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Lahiru Thirimanne (V.Captain), Tillekeratne Dilshan, Upul Thranga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Perera, Jehan Mubarak, Rangana Herath, Sachitra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga, Thisara Perera and Suranga Lakmal.