South Africa surrendered meekly against hosts Sri Lanka in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday. Sri Lanka won the final match by 128 runs to seal the series 4-1. With this win, Angelo Mathews registered his first ODI series win as captain.
Needing 308 runs to win after an outstanding batting display by the hosts, South Africa got off to a steady start as openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock added 35 runs for the opening partnership before the latter failed to read the line and was bowled by Sachitra Senanayake. Their batsmen started off well scoring easy runs against the Sri Lankan pacers. However, the spinners troubled them. The middle order, barring AB de Villiers, offered little resistance as the visitors were reduced to 85 for five within 20 overs.
Skipper de Villiers played a composed knock of run-a-ball 51. However, it was too little too late. He was lucky to survive while batting on 28 in the 25th over of the innings, when an edge to Kumar Sangakkara was not referred to the third umpire after the on-field umpire had turned down the appeal. De Villiers added 52 runs for the seventh wicket with Ryan McLaren and just when the visitors seemed to have been going well, they took the Batting Powerplay after the 32nd over. Sri Lanka brought in spinner Ajantha Mendis into the attack, who dismissed de Villiers off the very first delivery and followed it up by uprooting Morne Morkel’s stump in the fifth ball of the over.
Mendis returned with figures of three for 36.
Coming into the match, South Africa dropped their lead spinner Robin Peterson, who had gone for 166 runs in 30 overs without picking a wicket in the previous four encounters in the series.
Earlier in the day, Tillakaratne Dilshan fell just one short of his century after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. He guided the hosts to 307 for four in their 50 overs. Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne did well to provide a strong platform for the middle-order to score freely and they added 163 runs for the second wicket.
Kumar Sangakkara took advantage of the situation slamming 12 boundaries on his way to an unbeaten 45-ball 75.
While skipper Angelo Mathews managed a quick 23, the fifth-wicket partnership of Sangakkara and Thisara Perera kept the opposition at bay. Sangakkara in particular plundered the bowlers all around the ground. Suddenly the field placing didn’t matter and the wristy batsman found gaps with consummate ease. As his aggressive innings progressed, he executed the reverse flick and scoop to perfection as well.
This series has been completely dominated by Sangakkara who has scored 372 runs in the five matches at an average of 93 with a career-best 169 to showcase as well. Apart from that he took 11 catches and effected two stumpings in the five-match series.
Dilshan too played his part with 273 runs and six wickets in the comprehensive series win.
The two teams will now take on each other in a three-match T20 series.
Sri Lanka 307 for 4 in 50 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 99, Kumar Sangakkara 75*; Ryan McLaren 1 for 47) beat South Africa 179 in 43.5 overs (AB de Villiers 51, Ryan McLaren 29; Suran Lakmal 3 for 22, Ajantha Mendis 3 for 36) by 128 runs.