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Cricket news - Sri Lanka target ODI turnaround in South Africa this time

Sri Lanka's batting will revolve around the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera and the all round abilities of Thisara Perera.

Cricket's history is chronicled with underdog fables where the supposedly weaker team overcomes a fancied side. Sri Lanka, who were battered and bruised after losing the Test series in Australia, certainly surprised the cricketing landscape by overcoming the formidable South African Test side in their own backyard 2-0.

The visitors, who made nine changes to the setup that slipped to an ODI series defeat in New Zealand, would look to build on the momentum in the first game of the 50-over series at the Wanderers. The likes of Danushka Gunathilaka, Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera and Sadeera Samarawickrama - all of whom part of the rubber against New Zealand - were dropped from the side for the 50-over series in South Africa.

Isuru Udana returns to the ODI setup after a gap of nearly seven years. The pacer, however, is known for variations and is perhaps better suited for the shortest format of the game. Vishwa Fernando, who impressed in the Test series, bagging 12 scalps, also has been selected.

Sri Lanka also would be bolstered by the return of the mystery spinner, Akila Dananjaya. The 25-year-old was recently suspended from bowling in international games after his action was found to be in breach of the permissible 15-degree flexion rule. With 28 scalps to his name in ODIs last year, he is vital cog in the side. On the bowling front, Sri Lanka would also look towards their captain Malinga to steer the side through troubled times.

Sri Lanka's batting will revolve around the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, who starred in the Durban Test, and the all round abilities of Thisara Perera. Upul Tharanga, who hasn't notched up an ODI ton since October 2017, needs to step up his game. The tourists are missing the services of Angelo Mathews, with the veteran cricketer still recovering from a hamstring injury. Dinesh Chandimal, who was axed for the Test series due to poor form, continues to find himself in the wilderness.

Despite a memorable show in the Test series, Sri Lanka have largely struggled in the ODI format, evidenced by the fact that they haven't put up an impressive show since winning the tri-series in Bangladesh in 2017-18.

Meanwhile, South Africa would welcome the return of Lungi Ngidi from a knee injury. The fast bowler, renowned for his ability to extract awkward bounce, was in prime form last year, taking 22 scalps in ODIs at just over 23. Anrich Nortje, the tearaway, who made an impact in the Mzansi Super League, gets a call-up.

Meanwhile, Hashim Amla, the veteran batsman, has been rested for the series. With only five specialist batsmen picked for the series, the South African camp would be hoping for Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock and David Miller to do the bulk of the scoring

When: March 3, 2019; 10.00 AM local time, 1:30 PM IST

Where: The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg

What to expect: As the Wanderers stadium is on a high altitude, the ball tends to travel quickly through the air. The curators at the Wanderers had a reputation for producing flat tracks for limited overs. However, over the last few ODIs played at the ground, teams have struggled to compile massive scores. Interestingly, in the recently-concluded ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, spinners also extracted a hint of purchase. The weather forecast for the game is quite promising.

Teams:

South Africa

With Amla rested for the series, it opens the floodgates for all rounders like Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius to impressive the selectors.

Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi/Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi.

Sri Lanka

With Sri Lanka ringing in as many as nine changes to their squad, the tourists would have a fresh look to their side.

Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga (c), Vishwa Fernando/Isuru Udana

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