South Africa put its campaign in Sri Lanka back on track when it won the first of the three Twenty20 Internationals by 12 runs in Colombo on Friday (August 2) evening, having lost the One-Day International series 4-1 earlier.
The hero for the South Africans was JP Duminy, who top scored with 51 in 52 balls out of a modest total of 115 for 6 after Faf du Plessis had won the toss, and then took three Sri Lankan wickets as Sri Lanka was restricted to 103 for 9, despite a strong counter-attack from Kumar Sangakkara.
Sachithra Senanayake was brilliant for Sri Lanka early on as his figures read 3-0-8-3, the scalps being those of Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock and du Plessis. Senanayake eventually finished his spell with 3 for 14.
South Africa reached where it did primarily because of the 56-run stand for the fifth wicket between Duminy and David Miller, who scored a 24-ball 25.
Sri Lanka’s reply never really took off, with Kusal Perera (11) the only batsman apart from Sangakkara to reach double figures. Sangakkara was unbeaten at the end with 59 from 53 balls.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe returned figures of 1 for 11 from three overs, Morne Morkel bowled his four overs for 2 for 28, and Wayne Parnell’s three overs went for 2 for 8.
But, like with the bat, Duminy starred with the ball too, picking up the wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and Jeevan Mendis as he showed returns of 3 for 18 from his four overs.
The second match takes place in Hambantota on Sunday.