South Africa vs. Sri Lanka: 2ndODI- South Africa continue their domination
East London: South Africa continued to dominate Sri Lanka and registered a thumping win over the visitors by 5 wickets and once again exposed Sri Lanka’s batting problems. The visitors came back from a nightmarish first match in which they were bowled out for a record low score of 43 to play a safe but slow innings to give South Africa a 237 runs moderate target.
AB de Villiers won the toss and asked Sri Lanka to bat first on a pitch that he believed still had some ‘freshness’ left in it. Sri Lankan Captain Tilkakratne Dilshan revealed that he would have opted to bat first if he won the toss. South African playing XI was unchanged while Sri Lanka replaced injured Dilhara Fernando and Ajantha Mendis by Dhammika Prasad and Rangana Herath. Rain delayed the start of the match but soon the action started. Tilakaratne Dilshan’s poor form continued and he was out on a duck after being run out by Faf du Plessis in the second over. South Africa got second break of the morning when Kumar Sangakkara was caught by Villiers off Lonwabo Tsotsobe on just 3. An 84 run partnership between Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal for the third wicket helped the visitors to stabilize their innings on a relatively slow and difficult batting track. It was Morne Morkel who broke this partnership by trapping Tharanga on 66 by a short length delivery. Dale Steyn took a superb catch to send back Mahela Jayawardene who was on 19 and was looking ominous. South Africa maintained a tight fielding and accurate bowling that ensured Sri Lanka never got away with too much of runs. The plot worked as wickets kept falling as batsman could not convert their starts into somewhat meaningful scores. Nuwan Kulasekara made 22 while Angelo Mathews made a quick 28 off 29 balls. It was the 72 run partnership off 61 balls between Chandimal and Mathews that eventually helped Sri Lanka reach a respectable total of 236 in their 50 over’s quota. Angelo Mathews was out on the last ball of the innings when he tried to hit over mid-off but it landed in Morkel’s hands. Sri Lanka’s star was Dinesh Chandimal who was still unbeaten on 92 off 115 balls. His innings included six boundaries and came at a strike rate of 80 which was good on this slow pitch. Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel picked two wickets each while Dale Steyn got one wicket.
Sri Lanka were hoping to get some help from the slow Buffalo Park track and the visitors had their first chance on third ball of the innings in form of a run out when a misunderstanding between Amla and Smith saw the later scrambling back to crease but Chandimal simply missed the stumps. But Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla played with utmost caution and patience leaving away odd deliveries and yet scoring at a brisk rate. Both bashed Sri Lanka’s any hopes of early inroads and made a 76 runs partnership off 99 balls that set up the foundation for the South African innings. Graeme Smith played a silly top edged catch to Tharanga off Dhammika Prasad to give visitors a chance in the game. Hashim Amla, who was playing wonderfully so far hitting five boundaries and scoring at a rate of 94 then fell prey of inward seam by Prasad as he was trying to play across the line. He made 55 runs off 58 balls that also included two sixes. Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy got together to march their team forward by 58 runs partnership Sri Lanka came back in the match as Prasad removed Kallis, who was on 37 off 51 balls. The match was now evenly poised as South Africa still needed 85 runs off 89 balls on a relatively slow batting surface. But South Africa got hold of the situation and played carefully to make a match out of it. Duminy and skipper Villiers slowly crawled their team towards the target but a accurate throw from Nuwan Kulasekara caught South African skipper short of crease in the 41st over. South Africa was still inching towards their target with relative ease thanks to JP Duminy who held his end in spite of wickets falling from other end. He put together middle order and made sure the run rate required was never went above the neck. Lasith Malinga, who was not able to pick any wickets as his weapon ‘Yorker’ balls were not working on this pitch, then took a good return catch to dismiss Faf du Plessis in the 47th over. But South Africa needed only 13 runs from here on and Morne Morkel completed the victory with 8 balls to spare. Morkel was not out on 12 while Duminy who was the star in the chase was unbeaten on 67 off 87 balls. Although he hit a six but too much surprise, his innings didn’t have any fours. Duminy’s safe and intelligent thinking which saw his team beat Sri Lanka again also won him the Man of The Match award.
JP Duminy’s experiment at No.4 position proved to be a successful one, but South Africa will miss the services of Hashim Amla who was released for paternal duties. The team is also considering giving break to Jacques Kallis. Sri Lanka would be looking to come up with a all round improved performance at Bloefontein on 17th Jan before it’s too late in the 5 match series.
Brief Scores: South Africa won by 5 wickets and lead 2-0
Sri Lanka 236-6 (50 0ver’s)
Chandimal 92* Morkel- 2
Tharanga 66 Tsotsobe- 2
Mathews 28 Steyn- 1
South Africa 237-5 (48.4 over’s)
Duminy 66* Prasad-3
Amla 55 Malinga- 1
Kallis 37 Dilshan- 0