South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st T20I, Centurion – Preview

Sri Lanka has struggled on its tour of South Africa so far. The 3-0 whitewash in the Test series was the worst defeat of his captaincy, Angelo Mathews has said. Now, the team is keen to regain some pride when it begins the limited-overs section of the tour.

The teams will play three Twenty20 Internationals, the first of which is at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday (January 20), followed by five One-Day Internationals.

Both sides have plenty of fresh faces for the limited-overs leg.

Sri Lanka has retained six of its Test squad, including the talented youngsters Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva. After a test by pace and swing, they will hope the batsmen-friendly surfaces expected for the shorter formats will allow them to showcase their skills.

Uncapped Thikshila de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan, who has featured in three Tests and an ODI for the islanders, have been included in the squad.

“Hopefully we can start afresh,” said Mathews. “We have some fresh faces in the T20 team and hopefully we can beat South Africa. We have still got a long way to go in South Africa so we need to keep our heads high.”

For South Africa, Wayne Parnell, the left-arm pacer, is the only member of the Test side who will feature in the T20Is. Faf du Plessis, the Test and regular T20 captain, is among those rested, with Farhaan Behardien taking charge.

The 13-man T20I squad features six newcomers in the format: Jon-Jon Smuts, Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson and Lungi Ngidi. Of them, only Phehlukwayo has represented South Africa, in five ODIs.

The team has also not played a T20I since defeating Sri Lanka in the last match of the Super 10 stage of the ICC World T20 2016 in India in March. Behardien, David Miller, Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso are the only members of the current squad who played in that tournament.

Sri Lanka too has struggled in the format in recent times, having to face six defeats since its win against Afghanistan in the World T20. The captain, though, is confident of bouncing back, and will want Friday's game to mark an important turnaround.

Teams (from):
South Africa:Farhaan Behardien (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle (wkt), Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal (wkt), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thikshila de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Sachith Pathirana, Nuwan Pradeep, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana.(ICC) 

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