Jul 26, 2013
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 56 runs in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Pallekele on Friday courtesy of four for 22 by left-arm pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Earlier David Miller’s 85 off 72 balls helped South Africa post a fighting total. This win ends South Africa’s 11-match losing streak against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka despite all-rounder Thisara Perera’s heroics.
The highlight of the innings was the 33rd over of the game where Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera smashed 35 off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson’s over to catapult the home side’s run-chase. The first ball was smashed over square-leg for a six. The second ball was an off-side wide. The legitimate second ball was hit over mid-wicket for another six. The third ball was a short ball pulled over deep mid-wicket for the third six of the over. The fourth ball went in the same direction for yet another six. The fifth ball was hit straight over Peterson’s head for a four and the over ended with a solid blow over deep mid-wicket for a six. The 35-run over is the second costlisest over in the history of ODI cricket.
Perera kept the home side in the hunt with a 49-ball 65 which was laced with five boundaries and five sixes. When Sri Lanka needed 59 off 48 balls he fell to Farhaan Beheradien which ended the home side’s hopes of winning the series and winning 12 games on the trot against Proteas.
South Africa dominated Sri Lanka for the first time in the series as the visitors pegged back the hosts in a do-or-die encounter. The wrecker-in-chief was Lonwabo Tsotsobe whose first spell was instrumental in putting pressure on Sri Lanka. Tsotsobe picked up three important wickets — Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga — to give Proteas an upperhand on the conditions where there was a lot of bounce and seam movement on offer. Dilshan offered a simple catch to AB de Villiers at covers. Sangakkara too went for a cover-drive but was caught at covers by JP Duminy for a duck. Tharanga prodded at a shortish delivery from Tsotsobe and was caught at first slip. At 16 for three, Sri Lanka were in dire need of a big partnership.
Complementing Tsotsobe was tall Morne Morkel who was extracting bounce which helped him apply pressure on the Sri Lankan top-order. In fact he softened up the batsmen and Tsotsobe reaped rewards.
Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal then prevented further incursion. Ryan McLaren kept the pressure on and didn’t let Sri Lanka run away with the game. In the 14th over spin was introduced and Robin Peterson beat Jayawardene in the air and there was a confident leg-before shout which the South Africans reviewed but the ball was missing the leg-stump.
Sri Lanka looked like weathering the storm when Jayawardene and Chandimal looked set. Just when the 55-run stand looked like taking Sri Lanka to the safety shores, left-arm spinner Peterson struck. He dismissed Jayawardene with a ball that held it’s line after pitching which knocked the former captain’s stumps.
Immediately after getting the prized scalp of Jayawardene, de Villiers introduced genuine pace of McLaren after a few overs of spin and gentle pace. McLaren vindicated de Villiers’s decision to bring him on by dismissing Chandimal with a delivery that bounced sharply after pitching. Chandimal fended at the delivery and the ball took the edge and it was held safely by ‘keeper Quinton de Kock. The limelight was now on the debutant Angelo Perera but there were no heroics from him on his first outing. He was dismissed trying to pull Beheradien. The ball just popped up in the air and de Villiers held an easy catch at mid-wicket.
The onus of the victory was with skipper Angelo Mathews. He perished in an attempt to pull Tsotsobe on a ball which was angled across him. Mathews skied the delivery to extra-covers where de Villiers took his third catch. Thisara then took the centre stage and counterattacked. He walked in at 81 for six and was a thorn in the flesh of the South Africans.
Thisara stitched an alliance of 72 with Rangana Herath who played second fiddle to the all-rounder. Herath’s contribution was only 10 in the partnership. After Thisara’s dismissal South Africa quickly demolished the lower order as Beheradien picked up Lasith Malinga for a duck and No 11 Ajantha Mendis too was dismissed for no score trying to go for a big hit.
Miller’s innings proved to be sole differentiator in the end as that propelled South Africa to 223 which looked a very good total in the bowler-friendly condition.
South Africa thus got on the board and have kept themselves alive in the series.
South Africa 223 for 7 in 50 overs (David Miller 85*, AB de Villiers 47; Ajantha Mendis 3 for 35) beat Sri Lanka 167 in 43.2 overs (Thisara Perera 65; Lonwabo Tsotsobe 4 for 22; Farhaan Beheradien 3 for 19) by 56 runs.
Man of the Match: David Miller.