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After their 180 run defeat in the first ODI against Sri Lanka, the last thing the Proteas would want is to be told that they haven’t beaten Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in the last two decades. Proteas last ten games against the Sri Lankans here have resulted in defeat and if they need to look at a win they will have to go back to the tour of 1993 when Kepler Wessels’ side won by 124 runs at R. Premadasa Stadium.

What will cheer up the Proteas is the expected return of number one ranked player in ODIs Hashim Amla. The 30-year-old has a more than impressive average of 55 in ODIs and having missed the opening encounter due to back spasms, Amla looks good to play the second ODI and Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal admitted that his team had been drawing up plans against the top order batsman.

"Amla is going to play tomorrow’s game. The most important thing about him is his consistency. That’s the main thing Amla has. We have something up our sleeves and we’re looking forward to the contest," said Chandimal.

Although the Proteas have been one of the strong ODI sides in the world, their struggles in Sri Lanka are inexplicable. The last time they toured here for an ODI series in 2004, they were whitewashed 5-0 and Player of the Series in that contest Kumar Sangakkara had an explanation for their struggles. "Our wickets are quite different from Indian wickets. It takes a while for the bowlers to get used to them. For such an attack to adapt so quickly is going to be difficult. They have very good spinners, but bowling on our wickets is another thing. You have to vary your pace and length quite often and our guys play a lot better on these conditions."

While Sri Lanka’s total of 320 in the first ODI is their highest against South Africa, the Porteas 140 all out is their lowest total against the Sri Lankans. The South Africans generally look sharp on the field, but on Saturday they let down their supporters.

"We’re not the best fielding team in the world yet. We’ve got the potential, so it’s a bit frustrating to see us field like that. I think the boys have learnt from their mistakes. It was a long 50 overs in the field and the afternoon was quite hot, which is not an excuse, but something new to the guys – something they couldn’t adapt to. In this game they’ll hopefully know what to expect and take a few match winning catches and a couple of run outs. The bowlers certainly need them," South Africa’s captain A.B. de Villiers said.

While Sri Lanka are likely to play the same side that won the first ODI, the Proteas are likely to bring in Amla and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.