4 Jun 2017

South Africa off to a flying start

9:05 am on 4 June 2017

A dominant South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 96 runs in their opening Champions Trophy Group B game at The Oval, helped by Hashim Amla's classy century.

The South Africa batsman Hashim Amla.

The South Africa batsman Hashim Amla. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sri Lanka, chasing 300 for victory, started brightly but were soon in trouble after losing wickets at regular intervals.

South Africa's Morne Morkel made the first breakthrough when he dismissed the dangerous Niroshan Dickwella for 41 after the Sri Lanka opener's attempted drive down the ground resulted in a comfortable catch for Wayne Parnell at third man.

Skipper AB de Villiers chipped in with a stunning catch to send Kusal Mendis packing for 11 runs, nonchalantly plucking the ball out of the air one-handed, and then ran out Dinesh Chandimal for 12 with a direct hit.

With Sri Lanka suddenly reeling at 116-3, leg-spinner Imran Tahir got into the act, trapping Chamara Kapugedera leg-before for a duck, before enticing Upul Tharanga into a lofted drive that was caught by David Miller in the deep.

Sri Lanka heads dropped after the loss of Tharanga, who top-scored for them with 57 runs off 69 deliveries, and despite Kusal Perera chipping in with an unbeaten 44, South Africa mopped up the tail without major difficulty.

Man-of-the-match Tahir ran out Suranga Lakmal and struck twice more to get rid of Asela Gunaratne (4) and Nuwan Pradeep (5) as the Sri Lanka lower order collapsed.