Sri Lanka sealed the ODI series after South African batters collapsed again

Sri Lan
Sri Lanka Cricket/ Twitter

Sri Lanka sealed a dominant 78 runs victory over South Africa at Colombo on Tuesday to clinch the ODI series by 2-1 along with 20 points in the ICC ODI Super League points.

Sri Lanka set a target of 204 in 50 overs before South Africa bundled out on 125 in 30 overs in a decider of the series. Before that, both teams have won a single game each

Spinners were going to have a huge impact in the game that South African stand-in skipper, Keshav Maharaj knew from the start. 

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first and Maharaj brought himself in the second over right away. 

He struck earlier to dismiss Avishka Fernando on 10 in the fourth over before George Linde got rid of Dinesh Chandimal in the seventh over.

Kamindu Mendis made a steady 16 off 29 and was looking good on the wicket before he offered an easy catch to Linde.

At 64/3 in the 15th over, Sri Lanka needed a solid partnership to steady the trembling ship.

However, they failed on the day to put partnership and get their dominance. Although, a few batsmen scored crucial runs to keep the scoreboard moving.

Dhananjaya de Silva just hit two boundaries but he scored a crucial 31. Charith Asalanka was a standout performer from Sri Lankan batting, who scored 47 runs to ensure that the bowlers had a fighting score.

Dasun Shanaka (13), Wanindu Hasaranga (6), and Chamika Karunaratne (16) couldn’t get going but Dushmantha Chameera’s 29 pushed the side across the 200 mark – a total that proved to be more than enough for the day.

Asalanka was the eighth batsman to fall in the 42nd over while Sri Lanka was on 166 but South Africa failed to restrict their opponent before 200.

Maharaj has bowled all his spinners hoping that they would restrict Sri Lanka before 47 overs but Chameera’s participation made sure that they play all the 50 overs.

Kagiso Rabada proved expensive on the day given the conditions that hurt Maharaj’s plans. 

South Africa got a rocket start while chasing as Maharaj hit a boundary on the first delivery. 

Praveen Jayawickrama took the first wicket of Aiden Markram, who lost his wicket at slip in the second over. South Africa never wanted to give a wicket to the pacer.

Reeza Hendricks was undone by Chameera before Rassie van der Dussen lost his wicket at short midwicket in the fifth over.

Sri Lankan debutant, Mahesh Theekshana (10-0-37-4) too joined the party after dismissing the dangerous man Janneman Malan in the 10th over before trapping Heinrich Klaasen lbw in the 16th. 

With the loss of six wickets inside 17 overs, South Africa’s chances of winning went blur. 

Andile Phehlukwayo and Linde delayed the loss after making Sri Lankan bowlers a little busy after their top and middle-order batsmen failed to have an impact.

“It’s been hard, we haven’t won a series at home for the last few years, so this counts a lot. The boys played really well, so lots more series win to come hopefully…He’s a real prospect going forward. (On his form) I should have stayed more in this game and I think I must contribute more than I did in this series. Today I wanted to bat longer, and really wanted to contribute today because I wanted a series win badly,”

said Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lankan skipper.

“It’s always great to be the Player of the Series in an international tournament. It’s my first one. I could see from the dressing room the pitch was helping spinners. My role was to bat longer, and I’m happy to do the job for my team. Initially, I was looking at a score of 230-240 but later I thought 200-210 could do the job,”

said Asalanka, player of the series.

“The pitch was a bit slow. I didn’t try too much, just tried to bowl a good length. That’s why I think I got success. I’ve had a lot of injuries in the past few years, so I’ve done extra fitness work for my bowling. I practiced well for the past few months. That’s why I’ve managed to play continuously now,”

said Chameera, player of the match.

“I think the bowlers did a really good job. Yes, it was slow and turning but the boys did well. Obviously, the batting didn’t go according to plan but full credit to Sri Lanka. I don’t think so (the toss being a factor)…Today our plans weren’t up to scratch, but lots of positives to take. We’ve got a few of our senior players back for the T20Is so hopefully, that’ll give us the boost we need,”

said Keshav Maharaj, South African skipper.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 203/9 in 50 overs (Charith Asalanka 47; Keshav Maharaj 3-38) beat South Africa 125 in 30 overs (Maheesh Theekshana 4-37) by 78 runs.