Sri Lanka 307-4 (Dilshan 99) beat
South Africa 179 (Lakmal 3-24) by 128 runs
Fifth One-Day International, RPS
Despite making several changes to their winning line-up, Sri Lanka prevailed comfortably over South Africa in the dead-rubber fifth ODI in Colombo.
Tillakaratne Dilshan fell narrowly short of a second consecutive century, while there were half-centuries for Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara. The South African attack was largely innocuous, while the batting was woeful and they were all out for just 179 in their run chase.
The Proteas had actually begun well as Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe bowled useful new ball spells, with the former getting the wicket of the recalled Kusal Perera. Kusal was one of four changes to the Sri Lankan side that sealed the series on Sunday as he replaced the discarded Upul Tharanga; the inclusions of Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal and Sachithra Senanayake in place of the rested trio of Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath being the others.
When the new ball bowlers had finished their opening bursts, things became much easier for the home side. Dilshan and Thirimanne put on 163 in less than 30 overs for the second-wicket as South Africa’s spinners were again disappointing. Robin Peterson had been dropped after a poor run of games, but Aaron Phangsio and JP Duming hardly looked more threatening.
Dilshan again began slowly before upping the tempo of his innings. He lost Thirimanne when the left-hander had scored 68, but appeared for all money to be on course for an 18th career century. However, when on 99 he was castled by a Ryan McLaren slower ball.
His demise didn’t affect Sri Lanka too much, though, as Sangakkara led the late onslaught. The 11 overs following Dilshan’s departure yielded 95 runs for the loss of only Angelo Mathews for 23 off 22 balls. Sangakkara, more used to playing the role of middle-overs accumulator, showed that he was equally adept at free-scoring at the death and ended unbeaten on 75 off only 45 balls. He helped lift Sri Lanka to 307 for four at the end of their 50 overs; not a small target on another slow pitch.
South Africa began briskly thanks to Quinton de Kock but wickets soon started to tumble. De Kock was bowled by off-spinner Senanayake for 27 off 21 balls, with Hashim Amla and JP Duminy then falling in successive overs shortly afterwards.
The Proteas soon found themselves 85 for six following a double-strike in the 20th over from Lakmal. AB de Villiers provided some brief respite for any travelling supporters by hitting a run-a-ball 51 and adding 52 with Ryan McLaren (29) for the seventh-wicket. He was caught off Thisara Perera, though, with Lakmal bowling last-man Tsotsobe to wrap up victory for the home side by the huge margin of 128 runs.
Sri Lanka’s spin trio of Senanayake, Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis bowled much better than their South African counterparts. The former got through 10 impressive overs and returned figures of two for 29, while Dilshan was his usual reliable self and Mendis picked up three wickets towards the end.
The two teams will now contest three Twenty20 Internationals, the first of which will be at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium, with the final two in Hambantota.
© Cricket World 2013