Tharanga handed two-match ban for slow over-rate

The only thing lacking from their strong start with the ball were wickets, and though one finally arrived in the 13th - Nuwan Pradeep (2-54) picking up Quinton de Kock (23) caught behind off a handsome delivery that just nipped away off the seam - further breakthroughs were hard to come by.

The centurion, Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir, who won the Man of the Match award, were the stars of the day for South Africa.

Spells of patience in both batting and bowling disciplines helped South Africa to a 96-run victory over Sri Lanka with Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir stealing the show.

Amla was joined by Faf du Plessis and the pair slowly started to increase the run rate.

However, South Africa then made hay as Amla and Francois du Plessis added 145 runs for the second wicket - Lasith Malinga costing his side dear when he dropped Du Plessis at long-leg when he was on eight.

Amla was eventually run out, frustratingly, by not grounding his bat properly though it also seemed as if he was exhausted.

JP Duminy gave some impetus to the South African innings smashing 38 off 20 deliveries with five fours and a six.

That mark seemed well within reach when the energetic Dickwella was swatting the ball all around The Oval. He was run out, and his dismissal led to bit of a rut as South Africa struggled to find the boundaries. He has done brilliantly so far and was also the first choice in Champions Trophy against South Africa.

Tahir underlined South Africa's dominance with a direct hit from mid-on to run out Suranga Lakmal, and it was his bowling that completed the Proteas' eighth successive win against Sri Lanka.

Tharanga might also face penalty for the slow over rate, and if he is banned, it will be a big blow for the Asian side.

South Africa were sluggish at the start of each innings - the 32 runs from their opening 10 overs when batting first in stark contrast to Sri Lanka's explosive 10-over opening of 87-1 in reply.

"Tharanga pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing", the ICC said.

Tahir took two wickets in the over, accounting for Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera, to break the back of the Sri Lankan middle-order.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj proved an effective deputy when called upon by the Proteas during their recent 2-1 ODI series defeat by England but skipper AB de Villiers was glad to have Tahir available following a hamstring tweak. "Not that the all-rounders can't take wickets but I'll probably be leaning towards getting our best bowlers in to make sure we have our best chance to bowl them out and to get 10 wickets in the game". "He's a great asset for us and it was a fantastic performance".

Kushal Mendis joined captain Upul Tharanga with a familiar approach.

Sri Lanka wasted a strong start and from 69 for no loss in the ninth over, they were reduced to 155 for 6 in the 30th over and by then the game was as good as over. He's got many years to come, hopefully for us.

Every time I put this jersey on, I feel really honoured.

  • Julie Sanders