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South Africa Clinch Series With Four-Run Win

South Africa Clinch Series With Four-Run Win
South Africa Clinch Series With Four-Run Win
©REUTERS / Action Images

South Africa 179-5 (du Plessis 72) beat
Sri Lanka 266-9 (Tharanga 58) by 4 runs (D/L)
Third One-Day International, Bloemfontein

South Africa scrapped their way to a four-run victory on the Duckworth/Lewis method over Sri Lanka in the third One-Day International in Bloemfontein.

They closed on 179 for five in 34 overs when the rain prevented any further play after Sri Lanka had reached a competitive 266 for nine.

South Africa's narrow victory puts them into an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series ahead of the fourth match in Kimberley on 20th January.

A fluent half-century from Upul Tharanga (55) and a cameo of 40 from Nuwan Kulasekara went in vain as Sri Lanka produced a solid if not sparkling batting display.

South Africa lost early wickets but were calmed by Francois du Plessis' resourceful 72 and were eventually steered to victory by captain AB de Villiers, who was unbeaten on 39 and Albie Morkel, who hit seven.

Sri Lanka's charge was dampened - not for the first time of the night - when key batsmen Kumar Sangakkara (38) and Mahela Jayawardene (15) were run out thanks to excellent work by du Plessis and Colin Ingram.

Tillakaratne Dilshan offered Tharanga support with 33 before the openers fell to slow bowlers Robin Peterson and JP Duminy respectively.

Dinesh Chandimal was the man at the other end of both run outs and he made 36 before Kulasekara justified his promotion by smacking 40 in 38 balls with a four and a six.

When it came to South Africa's turn to bat, Lasith Malinga put his side on top by bowling Graeme Smith for two and then Ingram  with a slower ball for 13.

Alviro Petersen attempted to reverse sweep Dilshan only to be trapped in front for 17 and South Africa were in trouble at 52 for three.

However, du Plessis counter-attacked, and with support from Duminy (25) brought the Proteas back into contention although their dismissals - both to run outs - left the match in the balance before de Villiers and Morkel did enough to clinch the honours.

© Cricket World 2012