Fresh from their recent triumph in England, Sri Lanka is ready to lock horns with South Africa in the first of the three-match ODI series, starting at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The Proteas were hammered by Lankan Lions 4-1, when they last toured the island nation. Struggling with heat and humidity at that time, the touring party can now be relieved as July is not one of the most humid months in Sri Lanka.
Featuring a number of slow bowlers in the side, the Islanders will be looking to take advantage of slow and dusty surface of the Premadasa Stadium. But, the AB de Villiers-led side must have studied Lankan bowlers heading into the series and they will be hoping not to fall in the same pit again.
However, the visitors also have good bowling option in their sleeves as leg-spinner Imran Tahir is more than capable of picking wickets on the sub-continent pitches. The visitors have also displayed a clinical performance in the warm-up fixture against Board XI.
"Immi (Imran) is a match-winner; he has got that x-factor," de Villiers said, "He is in a very good space with the ball in hand at the moment and he is bowling really well," de Villiers said, "I look forward to using him in some very big moments."
Tahir is also hoping to live up to the expectations and said he is confident, heading into the series. He added that it will be a challenge for him to confine veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who are good spinners.
"I have always been really confident, but maybe in the past, I wasn't sure where I stood in the team," Tahir said, "At the moment, I am playing T20s, ODIs and Tests, so that automatically gives me good confidence about myself."
"Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are two of the greatest players of spin in the world. They obviously grew up facing spin rather than fast bowling so it will be a good challenge."
Meanwhile, all-rounder Jacques Kallis, the only fitness concern for the visitors, has been declared fit to play in the first one-dayer. Kallis was having stiffness trouble in the back, due to which he missed the practice match as well.
The Islanders are favourites in the opening match, but skipper Angelo Mathews is not taking the touring party lightly. He admitted it will not be an easy series as the rainbow nation has quality players to trouble them.
"You can't be complacent, because they play their best cricket wherever they play, and they have got all their guns back," Mathews said, "So we expect a really good challenge from the South Africans."
Squads: Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Ashan Priyanjan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga and Kithuruwan Vithanage.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn.
Where to Watch Live
The first ODI is scheduled for 9:40 am local (9:45 am IST, 4:15 am GMT) start with live coverage on Ten Cricket and Ten HD in India. Catch ball-by-ball update of the match online HERE. Catch the action live on TV on Ten Sports in Sri Lanka, while viewers can also live stream the action HERE.