South Africa look to shrug off Pallekele aberration



What should prick SA, given their proclamations of #Mission2019, is how flaky they still seem to be at the first sign of pressure © AFP

Momentum can be a rotten opposition to contend with. Sri Lanka lost one ODI to South Africa, then another and another, and by the time three games of this series were done, that dreaded streak had reached 11 and memories of the red ball spitting and spinning past tentative South African batsmen were banished into distant memory.

Under the circumstance, where they were in serious danger of being whitewashed once again, Sri Lanka produced a proud performance to claim one victory in the fourth ODI. The series is gone but Sunday’s second dead rubber game can add a semblance of respectability, and who knows, maybe start a streak of their own as they build towards the World Cup.

South Africa meanwhile will see no reason to read too much into the defeat in Pallekele, a game which was heavily affected by inclement weather conditions. What should prick them, given their proclamations of #Mission2019, is how flaky they still seem to be at the first sign of pressure. There are several new faces in this particular side but these collapses now have assumed a more cultural significance.

But that’s a topic for later. Among the many positives, this series has seen a revival of sorts for JP Duminy. AB de Villiers’s retirement and Faf du Plessis’s injury should have had a destabilizing factor on the team reeling from a crushing defeat in the Tests. But Duminy has stepped up admirably with 215 runs so far and after a worrisome recent form, this upturn in fortunes bodes well for the team. As does the form of seamer Lungi Ngidi, who leads the bowling list with 10 wickets at 20.10.

The hosts still have concerns at the top of the order but will be heartened by what they saw from Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera after the duo stitched the team’s best partnership of the series at a rapid pace. Sri Lanka had a mixed bag in the field but held on to catches and effected run-outs at crucial junctures in Pallekele. These, for starters, are happy vibes to cling on to and build on.

When: Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 5th ODI, August 12, 09:00 GMT, 14:30 Local

Where: R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

What to expect: Another rain-affected game could be on the cards with the local MET department forecasting a 60% chance for showers around match start time. It will be a very humid day in the Sri Lankan capital, going up to 83% on the scale. The pitch though should facilitate another 300-v-300 contest.

Team News:

Sri Lanka

Kasun Rajitha didn’t have the greatest of debuts when played in the second one-dayer at Dambulla but may be granted another chance, possibly in place of Lahiru Kumara.

Squad: Angelo Mathews (c), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya

South Africa

The visitors have been on a bit of an experimentation mode and could use the last ODI for more of the same. Aiden Markram would hope that the throw of the dice goes his way one more time in order to add a silver lining to a tour that has turned awfully pear shaped.

Squad: Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Jean-Paul Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi

Did you know?

– South Africa have lost six of their last seven ODIs at RPS, winning only their last ODI there in 2014 against the hosts.

– Hashim Amla hasn’t scored a century in his last 11 ODI innings. The last time he encountered a longer barren streak was back in 2013.

– JP Duminy has scored 215 runs so far this series and needs 30 more to go past his best series tally – 244 against India at home in 2010/11.

What they said:

“It [was a] very important win to be honest. Proud of the way we fought. The batsmen put up a decent score. The two allrounders finished off well. But it’s never easy. DLS plays into the hands of the chasing team. We weren’t clinical in the field but we pulled through. Wee’ll have a word about that.” – Angelo Mathews.

© Cricbuzz


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