Clinical South Africa makes it 4-0

Published : 9:45 am  February 8, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Champika Fernando in Cape Town 
Clinical South Africa withstood an Upul Tharanga onslaught to register a nervy 40-run win over Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI played at the Newlands Cricket Grounds in Cape Town last night.

Sri Lanka needed to pull off the highest successful run-chase at the Newlands after South Africa posted a record 367 for five but despite a swashbuckling start, they lacked firepower in their batting to put the finishing touches as they were bowled out for 327 runs – their highest total in the series.

Opener Tharanga and Dickwella breathed fire on a dead track scoring 100 runs off the first 10 overs in a brutal display of power-hitting but once they were gone, the writing was on the wall for the islanders.

Tharanga smashed his first century since 2013, 119 off 90 balls with seven sixes and 11 boundaries as Sri Lanka were on course for a record chase on 216 for two after 29 overs, but Wayne Parnell turned it around for South Africa by picking the marauding Sri Lankan batsman at backward point. 

With that Sri Lanka’s hopes were all but shattered as the inexperienced middle order lacked the firepower to put the finishing touches to what would have been a remarkable comeback win to end their losing streak. 

Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for just 20 runs, having being on a comfortable 307 for four by the 40th over of the match. 
The 32-year-old veteran opener who made his way back to the side after being overlooked for almost two years, reached his half century off 25 balls with four sixes and five boundaries and shared an imposing 139 for the first wicket with Dickwella who departed for a well made 58 – his second half century in the series.

Tharanga and Kusal Mendis then added further 64 runs for the second wicket but Parnell had Kusal edging one to the keeper, ending a threatening partnership.

Sandun Weerakkody who replaced the misfiring Dinesh Chandimal rode his luck, having being dropped twice on 15 and 35 to reach his maiden half century – 58 off 51 and to take Sri Lanka closer, sharing 79 runs for the fifth wicket with Asela Gunaratne (38) but failed to change the course of the match. 

Sri Lanka’s performances certainly gave a scare for the hosts who at one stage looked like deer caught in the headlights as Sri Lanka were racing towards the target, but the Proteas hit back at crucial moments to win the match. 

Parnell was the pick of the bowler claiming four for 58 while Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius and Kagiso Rabada shared two wickets apiece. 

Earlier, Francois du Plessis struck a career-best 185, his second in the series as South Africa amassed a record 367 for five, the highest score at the Newlands from their 50 overs. 

There innings was decorated with some useful contributions from Skipper A. B. de Villiers (64), Quinton de Kock (55) and Farhaan Behardien (36 not out) who batted around du Plessis much to the delight of the packed Newlands crowd. 

The victory was South Africa’s fourth in five-match series and will now look for a clean sweep when the teams return to Centurion for the final ODI on Friday (10).

Sri Lanka got off to a fine start when opener Hashim Amla edged to Asela Gunaratne at slips from the bowling of Lahiru Kumara in the second over to leave South Africa three for one.
But du Plessis who joined de Kock revived the innings with a 100-run second wicket stand off 87 balls before Tharanga held onto a superb one handed catch to remove Kock off the bowling of Sachith Pathirana. 

Skipper de Villiers and du Plessis then shared an imposing 137 runs off 119 balls for the third wicket before Pathirana bowled de Villiers through his legs when the latter attempted to paddle sweep. 

But by then South Africa had reached 240 with 13.5 overs to go. The pair worked well in tandem and punished the Sri Lankan bowlers with great aggression. 

However with de Villiers’ departure for his 50th half ton, a score in excess of 350 looked a bit tough, but du Plessis and Behardien combined to bring South Africa’s highest total at this venue. 

Du Plessis reached his 100 runs off 89 balls and 150 off 129 balls before perishing just three runs short of South Africa’s highest individual score of 188 set by Garry Kirsten in the final over of the innings. 

He was particularly ruthless towards the latter part of his innings with some clean hits before Lahiru Madushanka picked him for the second time in a row. 

Du Plessis who hit 16 boundaries and three sixes in his 149-ball innings, shared a brisk 74 off just 29 deliveries with Behardien to take South Africa to a huge total. 

Behardien was unbeaten on 36 off 20 balls. For Sri Lanka seamer Lahiru Kumara and Pathirana picked up two wickets each.