Hashim Amla hit his 13 ODI century and shared a 151-run stand with his captain A.B. de Villiers to propel South Africa to 304 for five in 50 overs in the first of three ODIs against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Amla scored 109 — including eight boundaries and a six — in his 86th game. De Villiers made 75 off 70 deliveries with five boundaries and a six.
South Africa made a steady-but-cautious start after choosing to bat first at the R. Premadasa Stadium, scoring 58 for the first wicket off 77 deliveries. Opener Quinton de Kock (27) looked well-set before he played on a wide delivery from Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
Veteran Jacques Kallis, who was playing his first international in seven months, lasted just two deliveries and was trapped lbw by Ajantha Mendis without scoring.
Kallis’ dismissal brought Amla and de Villiers together and they provided the base for a challenging total.
Spinner Mendis picked up three wickets for 61 including those of Amla and J.P. Duminy (16) in 10 overs and raised hopes of a Sri Lankan recovery in the latter stages of the tourists’ innings. But David Miller (36) and Ryan McLaren (22) shared an unbeaten stand of 55 runs for the sixth wicket to help their team finish on a high.