Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat against South Africa in the first World Cup quarter-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
South Africa were looking to win their first World Cup knockout match, with Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and runners-up in 2007 and 2011 bidding for a third straight appearance in the final.
It was no surprise Mathews opted to bat first given that, after morning cloud cover evaporated, conditions appeared ideal for run-scoring on a good pitch.
South Africa brought back batsman Faf du Plessis and Kyle Abbott came in for fellow paceman Vernon Philander, who had been struggling with a hamstring injury.
Hours before this match, Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a finger injury with his replacement, off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal, whose solitary Test appearance came against New Zealand in Wellington in December last year, handed a debut.
Kusal Perera came back to open the innings with Lahiru Thirimanne dropping down the order, with Dushmantha Chameera, a 147km/h seamer, a member of a pace attack featuring Lasith Malinga.
Sri Lanka came into this match with veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara in prime form after scoring a record four hundreds in successive one-day internationals.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers has been in the runs as well, with his last appearance at the SCG yielding a stunning 162 not out off just 66 balls against the West Indies in the pool phase.
Whichever side wins this match will play either New Zealand or the West Indies, who meet on Saturday, in a March 24 semi-final in Auckland.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Faf du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers (capt), David Miller, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wkt), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Tharindu Kaushal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga Umpires: Rod Tucker (AUS), Nigel Llong (ENG) TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) Match referee: David Boon (AUS) Weather: Sunny, possibly clouding over later with chance of showers. Maximum temperature 31 Celsius.
Pitch report: Promises to be a slow, spin friendly surface. Any cloud cover will assist faster bowlers otherwise batsmen should be able to hit through the line with confidence. (AFP)