South Africa post 338/7 in SL Warm-Up

2019-05-24 at 19:19

There are few crucial calls South Africa would’ve wanted to make through the course of these two warm-up matches. Right up the list would be to find a partner for Quinton de Kock at the top of the order. Set for trials, the experienced-but-out-of-form Hashim Amla aced the challenge, with a well-paced half-century, while the promising-but-young Aiden Markram fluffed it by throwing away his wicket after a steady start.

The duo began strong, with a 47-run opening stand, with some crisp strokes on display after being put in to bat. But looking to chase a wide delivery, Markram got an outside edge to the ‘keeper in the seventh over and let go off another opportunity to make his mark in the 50-over setup.

Amla, on the other hand, was the aggressor to begin with. But even after braving through a brief spell of swing bowling, where he was constantly getting beaten by deliveries that were either moving away or towards him, which also included a maiden over by Thisara Perera, got to his fifty off only 49 balls.

He also played the secondary role in the 128-run second-wicket stand with Faf du Plessis, which eventually proved to be the platform on which South Africa’s innings was built. Du Plessis, on his part, returned to the South African outfit carrying forward his good form and fluency from the IPL. Even as Isuru Udana tried cutting his scoring areas by angling the balls away from him and keeping the mid wicket region open, the South African skipper struggled to attack that region. Nonetheless, he kept getting his boundaries at regular intervals and stroked his way to a 69-ball 88, which included seven boundaries and four sixes.

There wasn’t anything too impressive about Sri Lanka’s bowling but they still managed to keep a check on South Africa and didn’t allow them to get away after a strong start. Barring Nuwan Pradeep, the rest were reasonably decent. There were phases they let the initiative slip away, there were phases in which they pulled it back. The latter was largely possible due to a regular flow of wickets after Amla and du Plessis were dismissed in a space of four balls.

The issue for Sri Lanka, however, was the two injury scares. Avishka Fernando slipped while fielding at cover and seemed to have hurt his ankle and had to be carried off on a stretcher while Isuru Udana hurt his fingers while putting his hand out when Chris Morris hit a delivery straight and hard at him in the death overs. He too walked off the field right-away.

The top order got ample time in the middle, middle order was tested and the all-rounders got a hit in the middle. Rassie van der Dussen (41-ball 40), JP Duminy (29-ball 22) and Andile Phehlukwayo (34-ball 35) made useful contributions and looked good when they were in the middle but couldn’t make their starts count. That should be a matter of concern for South Africa, a team whose line-up hasn’t fired at its best for some time now. David Miller, in his 15-ball 5, was the only unimpressive South African batsman on the day.

Even as South Africa didn’t accelerate as they would’ve liked, late blitz by Chris Morris and Dwaine Pretorius allowed them to post 338 for 7, with the duo adding 52 in the last 4.1 overs.