South African captain AB de Villiers won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in to bat in the first one-day international at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo on Saturday.
The Proteas, already without three frontline players in Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, suffered a blow when star batsman Hashim Amla pulled out of the first game due to a stiff neck.
Sri Lanka are captained by 23-year-old Dinesh Chandimal after Angelo Mathews was suspended for two games for slow over-rates during the recent tri-series in the West Indies.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Jehan Mubarak, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga, Thisara Perera.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Alviro Petersen, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso.
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Ranmore Martinesz (SRI).
TV umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)