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AB de Villiers will eye a series brownwash against Sri Lanka Getty Images

South Africa and Sri Lanka clash for the final time this winter, as both teams go head-to-head in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI). South Africa, so far, have been dominant, whereas the fallible Sri Lankans have had their moments but failed to maintain consistency. For that matter, the visitors’ valiant show in the fourth ODI was not enough to stop the home side’s juggernaut. The Proteas would not want to miss out on a series brown-wash, while the Lankan Lions will hope to keep them at bay and end the tour on a high. Let us walk through what both nations’ might field at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday. Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 5th ODI at Centurion


South Africa boast of one of the most power-packed top-order. Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis form a devastating trio. Amla provides some stability. De Kock’s power and belligerence shatters opposition at will. Du Plessis’ sturdiness is a mix of both calmness and madness. The captain’s 185, at Cape Town, is still fresh in the minds, and will be expected to launch into the Sri Lanka attack again. De Kock’s form has been up and down in the series, and will want to make it count.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s top-order has been a joking affair with constant changes. In the fourth ODI at Cape Town, Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga finally came into their own and flourished exponentially to almost pull off a rabbit out of the hat for them. After that stellar show, Tharanga, in particularly, should be promoted to the opening slot. Kusal Mendis, on the other hand, has only showed sparks of brilliance at No. 3. Rabada, Dickwella fined by ICC

Middle-order: South Africa’s middle-order is as prolific as its top order. Skipper AB de Villiers has range of shots, and his ability to pull off wonders is well known. Coming in at No.5 is JP Duminy, who has a knack of blistering away fiery knocks every once a while. So far, Duminy’s bat has not yielded runs as he is reputed for.

In absence of David Miller, Farhaan Behardien has taken over the duties as a finisher, which he has been good at.

Sri Lanka, however, have been chopping and changing their middle-order, which has had a demoralising effect on the side.

Playing just his second ODI, Sandun Weerakkody, displayed a descent show at Cape Town, notching himself a well deserved half-century. Dhananjaya de Silva has been under immense pressure to come good with the bat, which sadly for the left-handed batsmen is not the case. Dhananjaya is yet to cross the 30-run mark in this series. Jayasuriya: SL should be able to play under any conditions, not just home

Asela Gunaratne, in the series, has displayed decent skills but is yet to make it count on the big stage. His constant 20s and 30s won’t get him a permanent slot in the side.

Lower-order: South Africa’s bowling has been impeccable with all their bowlers looking like a well-oiled machine. Their three-man pace battery has been impressive, while the spinners have outfoxed batsmen at the twirl of their fingers. Imran Tahir and Wayne Parnell have been outstanding, picking 18 wickets between them.

Kagiso Rabada and Dwayne Pretorius have been the perfect foil for them, knocking over 11 wickets between them. Tabraiz Shamsi’s inclusion in the final ODI will be interesting to see after his show in the last match, where he went wicketless in his 10 overs.

Moving on to Sri Lanka bowling, their lack of experience is clearly evident in the middle with Nuwan Kulasekara acting as the spearhead. Kulasekara has been mediocre by his standards. Lahiru Kumara has managed to pick wickets but at a high price. Lahiru Madushanka, who picked just the one wicket at Cape Town, can be replaced by the more experienced Suranga Lakmal. Spinning duties will fall on the shoulders of Sachith Pathirana and Lakshadan Sandakan. Both have immense talent with the ball, but needs to be honed well in order to flourish in the middle.

South Africa Likely XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (c), JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Dwaine Pretorius, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada ,Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi

Sri Lanka Likely XI: Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga (c), Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Sandun Weerakkody, Asela Gunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Lakshan Sandakan