Fifth ODI at R. Premadasa Stadium Mathews, Dananjaya propel SL to massive win

Published : 12:20 am  August 13, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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The South African team that won the series despite losing the last two matches 


By Shehan Daniel 

Sri Lanka produced its best performance of the five-match series, but only after it had been long decided, to beat South Africa by an emphatic 178 runs in the final ODI played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. 

Home wins have become somewhat of a premium for Sri Lanka – this was only their sixth victory in the last 23 home games – and while the 2-3 series defeat will sting, yesterday’s performance, even if it was against a below-strength opponent, will leave the hosts encouraged as they plan towards next year’s Cricket World Cup in England. 

Captain Angelo Mathews’ unbeaten 97 was one of his best innings that didn’t end in a century, but his effort was matched if not outshone, by Akila Dananjaya, whose career-best six for 29 won him the Man-of-the-Match Award, as he lit the fire that led to South Africa’s implosion of 121 in 24.4 overs. 

CITY-DM-16-8Having to chase down a would-be record target for this venue, South Africa faced an uphill task especially with the Premadasa wicket showing signs of spin, which was exploited beautifully by the right-arm spinner. 
When Dananjaya was brought on to bowl the second over of the innings, South Africa had already lost Hashim Amla – bowled by Suranga Lakmal for a duck. 

And even though his first two overs went wicketless, it seemed a matter of time before Dananjaya made the breakthrough. 

That came against Aiden Markram who, having scored his 20 runs exclusively through boundaries against Suranga Lakmal, continued to look suspect against spin returning a catch to Dananjaya in the sixth over. 

Dananjaya had his second wicket the very next ball when he outfoxed Reeza Hendricks with a googly, as South Africa slipped to 31 for three, and then 39 for four when Dananjaya accounted for Heinrich Klaasen in his next over. South Africa’s best partnership followed as stand-in Captain Quinton de Kock and J. P. Duminy put on 46 runs for the fifth-wicket; a threat that lasted 43 balls, before Dhananjaya de Silva held onto a return catch from Duminy in the 16th over. 

South Africa then lost their next three wickets in the space of 10 runs, as Willem Mulder, Quinton de Kock and Andile Phehlukwayo fell in quick succession – the latter two becoming Dananjaya’s fourth and fifth victims. 

De Kock was the only batsman who made any sort of challenge, and his second half century of the series was a case of personal triumph in a lost collective cause, as he finished as South Africa’s second best run-scorer of the series behind Man-of-the-Series Duminy.

Keshrav Maharaj was Dananjaya’s sixth wicket, before Junior Dala was the last man out to Lahiru Kumara. 

Sri Lanka had earlier reached 299 for eight in their 50 overs, with contributions and partnerships right through the batting order, although it was Sri Lanka’s Captain who stood out. 

Mathews had, more often than not in this series, walked out to bat with Sri Lanka in a dire situation – 22 for three, 56 for three and 81 for four in the three games which his team lost – but must have felt a little less burdened approaching the crease yesterday, with the hosts having reached 114 for three in 19 overs. 

He raced to 19, picking off three boundaries, all in the space of 21 balls but when Kusal Mendis was caught behind in the 26th over, Mathews focused on rotating the strike with new batsman Dhananjaya de Silva. 

CITY-DM-16-2Mendis has been enduring his worst patch of form in ODI cricket and just when he looked on course to score his first half century in more than a year and stretching 18 innings where he has scored no more than 36, he was caught behind off Maharaj for 38. 

His five boundaries however, showed signs of a batsmen who could have better days ahead of him. 

Mathews reached his 37th half century with a single in his 66th ball, the last ball of the 40th over, and then immediately shifted up a gear, sweeping  Duminy for a six over mid-wicket, and taking three boundaries over the next two overs bowled by Mulder and Phehlukwayo.

Three boundary-less overs, which included the wicket of Thisara Perera, followed and Sri Lanka soon found themselves on 251 for six with four overs left. 

But a flurry of hits from Mathews and Dasun Shanaka – his 21 runs including a pulled six against Kagiso Rabada – ensured that Sri Lanka would get to within a run of 300. 

Sri Lanka’s push towards that mark, which has never been bested by a team chasing at the R. Premadasa Stadium, had also received a significant foundation from Niroshan Dickwella, who featured in two 50-run partnerships, with fellow-opener Upul Tharanga and Mendis. 

Dickwella was far from his aggressive best, riding his luck to 43 off 65 deliveries, but it was another instance of his creativeness costing him a big score, as he attempted to cut a ball that was far too close to his body with all but his glove missing the ball becoming the third Sri Lankan wicket to fall. 

Maharaj had kept Sri Lanka’s batsmen honest, with figures of one for 32 in his 10 overs. 



Mathews reached his 37th half century with a single in his 66th ball, the last ball of the 40th over, and then immediately shifted up a gear