Amid everything Tabraiz Shamsi said on Sunday — about bowling‚ batting‚ pitches‚ that kind of necessary but mundane stuff — he delivered a nugget of understanding about this mad and sometimes maddening business called cricket. "Sometimes it works‚ sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just how the game goes‚" he said. It worked on Sunday‚ when SA reduced Sri Lanka to 36/5 inside nine overs on their way to winning the first ODI by five wickets with 19 overs to spare. It had not worked in the Test series: Sri Lanka won both matches against an SA side that deteriorated as steadily as the tough but fair pitches they played on. So confirmation will be sought in the second ODI on Wednesday‚ which like Sunday’s will be played in Dambulla‚ that the visitors have indeed turned the corner. The prematch portents look good for an answer in the affirmative. The pitch will be the same relatively pacy surface used on Sunday‚ which was a lot more recognisable to the South Africans than the dry‚ dusty‚ turni...

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