COACH Russell Domingo put his immediate stamp on the Proteas Castle Lager ODI squad when he gave JP Duminy the all-important No. 3 position and played both his specialist spinners in the Sri Lankan tour opener against the Cricket Board’s President XI at the Colts Cricket Club, Colombo, on Wednesday.
The Proteas scored an easy victory by 73 runs in their only warm-up outing ahead of the five-match ODI series starting on Saturday (11am CAT).
Domingo had every reason to be pleased with his selections. Duminy took the responsibility of batting for the bulk of the innings after Hashim Amla had been run out for 31 (33 balls, 5 fours), finishing with top score of 92 (100 balls, 7 fours and 2 sixes).
Although the pitch was a slow seamer which gave little help to the spinners, the Proteas trio of Duminy, Aaron Phangiso and Robbie Peterson took seven wickets between them – the impressive Chris Morris took the other three for 27 runs in eight overs as the home side was dismissed for 198 with more than five overs to spare.
Probably the most important decision Domingo took was to opt for a proper 11-a-side List A match instead of giving practice opportunities to his entire squad. This made for a competitive environment. A warm-up match is not the same thing as a full blown ODI but the Proteas can nevertheless feel largely satisfied with the performance against what was very close to a Sri Lankan 2nd XI in strength.
More than half of the players have represented Sri Lanka at international level across the formats.
It seems that some good lessons have been learned from the ICC Champions Trophy campaign with the top five batsmen occupying the crease until the 47th over when Duminy was finally dismissed instead of the previous experience of running out of specialist batsmen too early in the innings.
Duminy shared successive stands of 49 in 11.2 overs for the second wicket with Alviro Petersen, 70 for the third (12.3 overs) with AB de Villiers, and 82 for the fourth (10.4 overs) with Faf du Plessis.
Domingo also opted for two specialists up front in Amla and Petersen which proved a good move as runs were not easy to accumulate in the opening power play overs.