South Africa begin ICC Champions Trophy campaign with comfortable victory


Run-machine Hashim Amla struck his 25th ODI century to guide South Africa to a challenging 299 for six against Sri Lanka in a Group B match of the ICC Champions Trophy here on Saturday.

It resulted in a successful start for world No. 1 South Africa, which defended its 299 for 6 to bowl Sri Lanka out for 203 in 41.3 overs despite an initial scare, Imran Tahir bagging four wickets to headline the bowling effort.

As well as Tharanga's ban, Sri Lanka players were fined 10% of their match fees for the first two overs and 20% of their match fees for the additional overs their side failed to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain also receiving two suspension points, the ICC said in a statement.

Cape Town - Driven by a century from Hashim Amla, the Proteas have posted a competitive 299/6 in their Champions Trophy opener against Sri Lanka at the Kennington Oval in London. Upul Tharanga has recently come back to the side and has been preferred over Dinesh Chandimal as the stand-in captain for Sri Lanka.

Amla reached his half-century off 53 balls and brought up his 25th century in ODI cricket in 112 balls with a single to square leg off Suranga Lakmal. He has gone past India skipper Virat Kohli, who achieved the feat in 162 innings.

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South Africa whitewashed Sri Lanka 5-0 in a home ODI series earlier this year but de Villiers said: "They always play well in these tournaments". It was some hard-hitting by JP Duminy that finally gave the Proteas the much-needed impetus at the end of their innings.

Chasing 300 for a win, Sri Lanka made a brisk start with Niroshan Dickwella (41) and Upul Tharanga (57) stitching 69 runs for the opening wicket. Chandimal was run out for 12, and three balls later, Tahir trapped Chamara Kapugedera for a first-ball duck at 117-4.

F du Plessis departed after scoring 75 runs as South Africa were 190 for the loss of two wickets at the end of 34th over.

Sri Lanka had suffered a blow prior to the match when captain Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the game with a calf strain.

"It was an wonderful innings", said skipper de Villiers. We knew it would be important to have a foundation. "Today I felt we played some loose shots".

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"It's no excuse and it's something we will get right in this tournament". "Their openers batted really well, but we stuck to our plans and came back strongly, which was pleasing", he added.

"I thought Sri Lanka could chase it down, but also thought we should have enough".

South Africa are blessed with star batsmen in the shape of Amla, De Villiers and Quinton de Kock, but the return of leg-spinner Imran Tahir from a hamstring injury could be crucial to their bowling line-up.

"He's obviously got to keep working on his game - he's not far off from his best".

On Thursday, Bangladesh's decision to play an extra batsman at the expense of a specialist bowler hurt them when they were unable to halt a rampant English batting line-up.

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