SOUTH AFRICA TOUR OF SRI LANKA, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Akila Dananjaya registered his best bowling figures in ODI cricket to help Sri Lanka to a massive win in the dead rubber. © AFP
A chase of 300 was tricky but not improbable. The ball was turning, but the conditions weren’t difficult. And South Africa surrendered. Failing to pick Akila Dananjaya‘s variations, they not only handed the spinner six wickets, but also folded up in less than 25 overs at R Premadasa’s 100th day-nighter.
The chase lost track in the first over itself. Peppered with three short-pitched deliveries, Hashim Amla was pushed onto the backfoot, before having the top of his offstump hit with a fine outswinger from a good length spot. Nonetheless, with Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock sailing smooth, the first wicket seemed only a blip.
Despite a few edges, they were largely fluent in their partnership and added 31 runs in 29 balls before Markram returned a half-hearted drive straight to Dananjaya. Reeza Hendricks, who had scored a century on his debut in this series, perished off the first ball, playing the wrong line to a googly. Heinrich Klaasen followed soon after leaving the visitors reeling at 39 for 4.
De Kock, who looked the most settled of all the batsmen, held his own. He brought out the slogs and stepped out against the spinners. In company of JP Duminy, he promised to revive South Africa’s innings and keep them in the chase. But their 46-run alliance ended abruptly when Duminy, much like Markram, gave a soft lob to Dhananjaya de Silva.
That dismissal opened another round of procession, one which didn’t end till the innings was over; with Dananjaya being the wrecker-in-chief. Amidst all this, de Kock seemed to be going strong. And with a deep batting line-up, the hard-hitting southpaw’s stay in the middle was needed to pose any threat to Sri Lanka’s total.
However, in the 18th over, soon after bringing up his half-century, de Kock failed to read Dananjaya’s googly and played down the wrong line to be castled. All hopes went up in air. The visitors were down to 94 for 7, and left with only completing the formalities.
Eventually, Dananjaya finished with a 6-fer – his best figures in ODIs – and South Africa were bowled out for 121, 171 short of the hosts’ total.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka posted 299 for 8 after electing to bat, with skipper Angelo Mathews being the backbone of the innings. South Africa had come in with two changes – with Lungisani Ngidi and David Miller rested for Kagiso Rabada and Markram.
Sri Lankan openers struggled against Rabada’s pace, but scratched their way to a half-century stand, before Upul Tharanga departed. Sri Lankan batsmen showed a far more disciplined approachon Sunday, but failed to make good use of their starts. As a result, they ended up putting on four fifty stands – Tharanga and Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Dickwella, Mathews and Thisara Perera, and Mathews and Dasun Shanaka but none could prosper for long.
The hosts kept losing wickets at regular intervals, and amidst useful contributions, Mathews remained a steady constant. Coming in to bat at the fall of the third wicket in the 19th over, he batted till the end. His assured presence allowed the other batsmen to go on the offensive. Shanaka made the most of it, and blasted a 15-ball 21 to give Sri Lanka’s innings a late surge.
Mathews, needing a boundary of the last ball to bring up his century, managed only a single with a pull to deep mid wicket. He remained unbeaten on 97 but walked back to a standing ovation from the crowd and his teammates. His innings set the platform for Sri Lanka’s massive win, and even in a series defeat, allowed them to walk away on a high.
Brief Scores: 299/8 in 50 overs (Angelo Mathews 97*, Niroshan Dickwella 43; Willem Mulder 2-59, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-60) beat South Africa 121 in 24.4 overs (Quinton de Kock 54, Aiden Markram 20; Akila Dananjaya 6-29, Lahiru Kumara 2-34) by 178 runs