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SA must change bowling order

The Proteas' victory over Sri Lanka was widely expected. The significant margin of the win was also no surprise.

We saw the Sri Lankan team in action during the last summer here. They were very weak then and nothing has changed.

It must be a concern for the powers that be in Sri Lankan cricket that their much-publicised rebuilding phase is showing little in the way of producing competitive international players.

As far as the Proteas were concerned the most important aspect was to get the win. They achieved that with relative ease and now find themselves one more win away from a semifinal appearance.

As far as the actual performance was concerned it was by no means South Africa's best day.

The batting was sound with an excellent century from Hashim Amla. The Proteas got themselves into a position where they could have got another 30 or 40 runs. They slowed down towards the end and the 299 runs they got was par for the surface. Against one of the top teams it may well not have been enough.

The biggest concern for the Proteas was again the use of the new ball. They got smashed during the first 10 overs and against one of the stronger teams in the competition, even the brilliance of Imran Tahir may not get them back into the contest. Tahir won the match for the Proteas with an excellent spell under pressure that was sorely needed.

The combination the Proteas selected for the match is the right one but they need to change the bowling order.

It was inexplicable that Wayne Parnell bowled five overs on the trot with the new ball when he got dispatched to all parts of the ground. He rarely swings the ball these days and bowls better with the older ball when he has more protection in the field after the power play.

It will be worth giving the new ball to either Morne Morkel or Chris Morris along with Kagiso Rabada. The only way to restrict the scoring rate during the initial overs is to get wickets and for that, the best bowlers with the new ball are required.

The Proteas will be delighted with their fielding performance. During the early matches against England they were below par in this respect but against Sri Lanka they were excellent.

The next match is against Pakistan on Wednesday. I expect a top performance from the Proteas in that game and another convincing win there will book their semifinal spot.

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