CARDIFF (Reuters) – South Africa captain Faf du Plessis struck a fluent 88 as his side eased to an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka in a Cricket World Cup warm-up game at Sophia Gardens on Friday.
South Africa were sent in to bat in the training match, which did not hold official One-Day International status, and posted 338 for seven, before bowling their opponents out for 251 in 42.3 overs.
The Proteas were without fast bowler Dale Steyn, who is not fit after a re-occurrence of his shoulder problem, but were carried to the win by seamer Lungi Ngidi (2-12 in six overs) and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (4-36 in 7 overs).
Ngidi reduced Sri Lanka to 10 for two but excellent half centuries from captain Dimuth Karunaratne (87 from 92 balls) and Angelo Mathews (64 from 66 balls) kept the sub-continent side in the contest.
The run-rate kept rising, though, and both batsmen were caught in the deep trying to accelerate the innings, with the guile of Phehlukwayo in particular stifling the chase.
South Africa will be relieved with runs at the top of the order for opener Hashim Amla as he reached 65 from 61 balls before being bowled by leg-break bowler Jeevan Mendis.
That may earn him the nod ahead of Aiden Markram (21) for South Africa’s World Cup opener against England on Thursday, with the pair vying for a place alongside Quinton de Kock, who did not bat on Friday.
Du Plessis looked in superb touch for his 88 from 69 balls, which included four sixes before he skied a delivery from Dhananjaya de Silva and was caught.
Several the other South African batsmen got starts but no-one else posted a half-century, though Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Phehlukwayo (35) enjoyed their visits to the crease.
(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Ken Ferris)