Sri Lanka crumbled to a humiliating 258-run defeat against South Africa in the first one-day international at Paarl after beating skittled out for a paltry 43 – the fourth lowest score in ODI history – in reply to the Proteas’ imposing 50-over score of 301-8.
Although they avoided the embarrassment of posting the worst total in history, they were no match for a South Africa attack which saw Morne Morkel take four wickets for 10 runs and Lonwabo Tsotsobe 3-19 in the opener of the five-match series.
The problems started with the second ball of the innings when Upul Tharanga went without scoring, caught by Jean-Paul Duminy off Morkel. It was 4-2 after seven balls when Tillakaratne Dilshan also departed without scoring, edging a Tsotsobe delivery to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Dinesh Chandimal got an inside edge on a Tsotsobe delivery and went for four, and 8-3 became 8-5 after five overs as Morkel had Kumar Sangakkara caught behind by de Villiers for four, then two balls later Robin Peterson caught Angelo Mathews for a duck.
Mahela Jayawardene became Tsotsobe’s third victim when he went for two, caught by Faf du Plessis with the scoreboard reading 13 – and when Nuwan Kulasekara went for six, caught by du Plessis off Dale Steyn for six, Sri Lanka were 24-7. Nine runs had been added to the total when Lasith Malinga played across the line to a Peterson delivery and departed for just one.
Kosala Kulasekara was given out lbw to a Morkel delivery but the decision was reviewed and Sri Lanka’s top scorer was given a reprieve, keeping him at the crease with three still needed to pass Zimbabwe’s record low ODI score of 35, against Sri Lanka in 2004.
However, the end was nigh for Sri Lanka when he holed out to Peterson for 19 off the bowling of Morkel – and the slow left-armer finished the contest when he trapped last man Dilhara Fernando lbw first ball.
Earlier, Hashim Amla made 112, Jacques Kallis 72 and de Villiers 52 as the hosts piled on the runs before losing their last five wickets for just 22 runs.
They had to recover from an early blow, though, with Test captain Graeme Smith out for just six as he suffered another one-day failure, having now made only one half century in his last 14 ODI outings. He had already offered a chance on the previous delivery from Malinga before edging another into the gloves of Sangakkara.
But any hopes Sri Lanka had of attacking the South African top order were soon dismissed as Amla and Kallis began to pile on the runs. They had moved the score on to 153 in the 29th over before some poor running gifted Kallis’ wicket to the tourists, run out thanks to a strike from Jayawardene in the covers.
Even so, Sri Lankan joy was again short-lived as De Villiers stepped in and quickly got the runs flowing once more, needing only 40 balls to make 52 before he was picked off by a yorker from Nuwan Kulasekara with the score on 244.
Albie Morkel made a quick 25 but when he and Amla fell in successive balls to Malinga, South Africa began to wilt. Duminy added just one, and Malinga then removed du Plessis and Steyn in the final over to claim figures of five for 53.