Aiden Markram hit 48 off 33 balls to propel South Africa to a 28-run win over Sri Lanka in their Twenty20 opener on Friday.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first in the three-match series. The visitors made 163-5 before restricting Sri Lanka to 135-6.
Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks gave South Africa a solid start by sharing 73 runs for the first wicket. Leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga struck in quick succession, removing de Kock (36) and Hendricks (38) to reduce the visitors to 79-2.
Spinner Maheesh Theekshana trapped Heinrich Klaasen (2) lbw as South Africa fell to 87-3.
However, Markram and David Miller (26 off 15) rebuilt the innings, sharing 65 runs for the fourth wicket off 35 deliveries. Markram hit one four and two sixes in his innings.
Hasaranga had 2-23 in four overs.
South Africa’s bowlers were tight from the start, preventing Sri Lanka from scoring freely.
Avishka Fernando and Dinesh Chandimal gave the home team a modest start with a 34-run opening partnership before Fernando (11) was run out in the sixth over.
In the next over Bhanuka Rajapaksa was out to the first ball, trapped lbw by left arm spin bowler and captain Keshav Maharaj. Charith Asalanka (6 off 19) tried to increase the scoring rate and was caught in the deep by Dwaine Pretorius off left arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Chandimal remained not out for his career-best 66. His 54-ball innings included five fours and two sixes.
Maharaj took 1-19 in four overs in his first T20I, claiming the wicket with his first delivery.
Shamsi, Pretorius, Bjorn Fortuin and Anrich Nortje all took a wicket each.
The second T20 is on Sunday.