Mathews expects tough battle
Captain Angelo Mathews believes Sri Lanka should expect a "really good challenge" from South Africa when their three-match one-day international series begins on Sunday.
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The hosts begin the series as favourites but they are not expected to claim such an easy win as they did when they recorded a 4-1 victory over the South Africans last summer.
Although South Africa have never won an ODI series in Sri Lanka, they return with an almost full-strength squad - the only doubt being all-rounder Jacques Kallis (lower back injury) - but apart from Kallis, who faces a late fitness test, the tourists appear in good health.
A statement on their official website cricket.co.za read: "Jacques Kallis has responded well to treatment and batted comfortably during training this (Friday) afternoon.
"He will go through a precautionary bowling test on Saturday to determine his availability for the first ODI on Sunday."
Ahead of Sunday's opener at Colombo, Mathews admitted his side are aware of their opponents' strength with or without Kallis, and he told espncricinfo.com: "You can't be complacent because they play their best cricket wherever they play, and they have got all their guns back.
"So we expect a really good challenge from the South Africans."
Kusal Perera was named in the 16-man Sri Lanka squad for the first two ODIs but he is a minor doubt after he missed out on the domestic T20 tournament with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir is looking forward to facing some of the world's best players of spin when the action gets underway.
"(Mahela) Jayawardene and (Kumar) Sangakkara are two of the greatest players of spin in the world, and there are other very good players of spin in their squad," he said.
"They obviously grew up facing spin rather than fast bowling so it will be a good challenge. I bowled against them when they were in South Africa and I did well, so I'm hoping to do the same again."
The 35-year-old, who was named as Cricket South Africa's T20 player of the year, hopes to take his form into the 50 overs format and he added: "T20 cricket is totally different to ODI cricket, especially with the five fielders in the ring.
"I have put in a lot of hard work and training so I'm just hoping that the debt pays me back on the field."
Following Sunday's series opener, the second match follows at Pallekele on Wednesday before the final game takes place on Saturday, July 12 at Hambantota ahead of the Test series.