A tournament with plenty riding on it began with South Africa opting to field in Centurion. Graeme Smith, the home captain, spun the coin, won the toss, and had little hesitation in deciding what to do on a pitch he reckoned had plenty in it for his bowling attack. Kumar Sangakkara, though, said he would have batted had he won the toss.
South Africa gave young fast bowler Wayne Parnell the nod ahead of Makhaya Ntini and also named two spinners, Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe, in their XI. Sri Lanka were boosted by the return of Thilan Samaraweera, whose last appearance in an ODI yielded a spectacular maiden century that lifted his team out of the mire against New Zealand, as well as Muttiah Muralitharan. Samaraweera replaced Chamara Kapugedera, while Thilan Thushara made way for Murali.
With the future of the 50-over format under scrutiny, this 15-day tournament needs a compelling beginning. These two teams have been consistent limited-overs performers for large parts of the last 15 years, and how they get going today could set the tone for the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka: 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Thilina Kandamby, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Muttiah Muralitharan, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Lasith Malinga.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Mark Boucher (wk), 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Roelof van der Merwe, 9 Johan Botha, 10 Wayne Parnell, 11 Dale Steyn.Tweet