SRI LANKA TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA, 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Chasing 226, South Africa were 135 for 2 when one of the floodlight towers malfunctioned © Getty
Sri Lanka suffered their fourth 5-0 loss in a bilateral series since the 2015 World Cup after another batting failure resulted in an easy win for South Africa in the final ODI in Newlands on Saturday. Chasing 226, South Africa were coasting towards a victory when a floodlight failure halted their charge with the hosts eventually winning by 41 runs via the DLS method.
Quinton de Kock, the man in form, was dismissed very early in the chase when he picked the deep square leg fielder off Lasith Malinga but Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram steadied the ship. The duo batted cautiously with Markram surviving a caught and bowled chance early in his innings. South Africa made just 40 in the powerplay but Markram grew in confidence post the initial stutter.
Du Plessis on the other hand, found the going tough and the pressure of dot deliveries eventually got to him as he charged Thisara Perera to get caught behind. Markram though kept finding the boundary regularly to help himself to a half-century to keep himself in contention for a World Cup spot and alongside Rassie van der Dussen, put South Africa in charge. When the hosts needed 91 more to win, the umpires had to pull the players back to the pavilion following a floodlight failure. South Africa were eventually declared winners with play not resuming.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka’s batting was the talking point yet again in the series. After surprising the hosts in the Tests, it was expected that their ODI struggles might also come to an end. Unfortunately, their batting continued to suffer from collapses. Things didn’t change in the final ODI as well with the visitors losing their openers very early in the first powerplay after opting to bat on what looked like a placid track.
While Avishka Fernando edged one to third slip after looking tentative in his short stay, Upul Tharanga tried to drive one in a loose fashion and ended up edging Kagiso Rabada to the wicketkeeper. Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando steadied the ship for a while before Imran Tahir, playing his final ODI at home, made a breakthrough in his first over. Fernando edged one to slip for a 47-ball 22 before he could switch gears.
Kusal looked in control though as he pounced on a shortish delivery from Anrich Nortje to pull him over midwicket for a boundary. Angelo Perera provided some much-needed relief for Sri Lanka in terms of the scoring rate as he continued to be busy out in the middle and proved to be the ideal foil for Kusal.
But South Africa’s gameplan was pretty simple. They just didn’t allow any partnership to flourish at any stage. Kusal had himself to blame when he was out and post his dismissal, Sri Lanka just crumbled. They needed Isuru Udana to contribute again at the death to get them past 200.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 225 in 49.3 overs (Kusal Mendis 56, Priyamal Perera 33; Kagiso Rabada 3-50, Imran Tahir 2-33) lost to South Africa 135/2 in 28 overs (Aiden Markram 67*, Rassie van der Dussen 28*; Thisara Perera 1-20) by 41 runs (DLS method).