Turn the key in opener

The Proteas and Sri Lanka are set to rely on their spin bowlers in the opening Champions Trophy fixture at Centurion.

No 1-ranked ODI outfit South Africa will rely heavily on vice-captain Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe, while Sri Lanka have the world’s best tweaker in Muttiah Muralitharan and rising star Ajantha Mendis.

‘In the last year-and-a-half, Johan Botha has become one of the best one-day bowlers in the game and he’s an integral part of our team. He and Roelof make a good combination,’ Proteas captain Graeme Smith told reporters.

‘Murali has troubled a lot of teams and he has an incredible record, but it will be interesting to see how Sri Lanka fit both him and Mendis into their combination.’

The batting line-up that deals with the slow bowling could emerge victors. Smith is confident of South Africa’s ability against the spinners.

‘Our record speaks for itself on how we have played spin around the world in the last few years and we have some good ideas about Mendis. Other teams have been very aggressive against him and that seems like a good tactic.’