Ryan McLaren (left) was yet again the pick of the bowlers for South Africa © AFP (File Photo)
By R Vishal
Jul 12, 2014
South Africa won their first ever series win in Sri Lanka by a comprehensive margin of 82 runs. Buoyed by a superlative batting performance which saw Quinton de Kock get to his fourth hundred in six matches and skipper AB de Villiers‘s quick-fire 108, South Africa set a massive target of 340 in batting friendly conditions in Hambantota.
Kusal Perera got Sri Lanka off to a blazing start with a flurry of boundaries and went after the bowling of Dale Steyn in particular. The fifty was brought up in just the fifth over and the hosts were running away with it. South Africa were searching for answers at this stage and needed wickets to get back in the game.
Wayne Parnell deceived Perera with a slow delivery but the Proteas could not stem the leakage of runs. Old Warhorses Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan went after the bowling and Sri Lanka were on track to chase the target down. Then South Africa struck and before the hosts regained initiative, wickets kept tumbling with the batsmen trying to go for quick runs.
The runs had also dried up considerably and it came through an unlikely source in the form of Imran Tahir and JP Duminy’s slow bowling. Skipper Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne tried rebuilding the innings but they struggled to get quick runs and the run rate was mounting. Mathews in particular had a torrid initial phase and chewed up a lot of deliveries in the middle overs.
Mathews then shrug off his struggles and led a valiant fightback with a fighting fifty. With Ashan Priyanjan at the other end, the hosts still had an outside chance of pulling off a spectacular win. However a Morne Morkel show put the contest to bed. First, the lanky pacer pulled off a blinder of a catch at short fine-leg to send Mathews packing. He then went on to clean up the tail with back-to-back wickets and South Africa subsequently went on to restore some parity to their wretched record in the island nation and also win the series 2-1.
South Africa 339 for 5 in 50 ovs (Hashim Amla 48, Quinton de Kock 128, Ab de Villiers 108; Rangana Herath 2 for 48, Ajantha Mendis 2 for 48) beat Sri Lanka 257 in 44.3 Ovs (Kusal Perera 37, Kumar Sangakkara 36, Angelo Mathews 58; Ryan McLaren 3 for 47, JP Duminy 2 for 43) by 82 runs.
Man of the Match: AB de Villiers
Man of the Series: Hashim Amla