South Africa have moved a step closer towards clinching the 5 match ODI series against Sri Lanka after winning the second match by 4 wickets, thus taking a 2-0 lead. Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews won the toss at Dambulla and elected to bat first.
This didn’t seem a smart move after Lungi Ngidi dismantled the Sri Lankan top order and reduced them to 56-3 inside 12 overs. Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Mathews tried to steady the ship but the former fell pray to Phehlukwayo after scoring a battling 69 which included 10 fours. Mathews failed to gain support from the other side as wickets kept tumbling in regular intervals. South African bowling and fielding was right on mark. Some brave decisions by South African captain Faf Du Plessis too paid off.
Mathews remained not out for 79 as Sri Lanka closed the innings with a score of 244-8 in their 50 overs. Lungi Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo were the pick of the bowlers for South Africa with both picking up 3 wickets each. Kagiso Rabada and rookie Williem Mulder were also impressive and had a wicket each to show up for their persistent bowling.
Sri Lanka knew they had to be on their toes to restrict this Proteas side but Angelo Mathews was led down by some sloppy fielding and wayward bowling performances from his players. Sri Lankans missed the catches of both the openers as Quinton De Kock and Hashim Amla consolidated the innings at top for South Africa. Amla was dismissed by Akhila Dhanajaya for 43 runs when the scoreboard read 91 in just 14 overs.
Aiden Markram’s series went from bad to worse as he once again fell for a below par score. He made just 3 runs from 11 balls before Dhananjaya sent him back to pavilion. De Kock was changing gears swiftly and he was perfectly supported by his skipper Du Plessis. The South Africa wicketkeeper fell 13 runs short of a wonderful century when Rajitha picked him up with the assitance of Suranga Lakmal who had his eyes focussed on the ball before grabbing a fairly simple catch. However this wicket didn’t offer much help to the Lankans.
Faf Du Plessis scored quick 49 before getting out to Dhananjaya. A brisk 32 from Duminy and good partnership from Mulder and Phehlukwayo meant South Africa chased the target with 4 wickets and 43 balls remaining. No bowler other than Akhila Dhananjaya looked ready for the task. He finished the match with figures of 60-3 in his quota of 10 overs.
There are a lot of questions that Sri Lanka players need to answer. Losing is not an issue but the manner they are losing is alarming. This was Sri Lanka’s 10th direct ODI loss to South Africa and their 27th loss in the last 36 ODIs.
The two teams will now move to Pallekele where they face each other on 5th August. Both the teams will want a win for different reasons. While South Africa would want to clinch the series with a win, Sri Lanka would definitely try to give South Africa a run for their money and make a comeback in the series.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga, Kushal Mendis, Kushal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Snehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Akhila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Prabath Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha.
South Africa: Quniton De Kock, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf Du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Williem Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.
Sri Lanka: 244/8(50 o.)
Angelo Mathews 79*(111)
Niroshan Dickwella 69(78)
Andile Phehlukwayo 9-0-44-3
Lungi Ngidi 8-1-50-3.
South Africa: 246-6(42.5 o.)
Quinton De Kock 87(78)
Faf Du Plessis 49(41)
Akhila Dhananjaya 10-0-60-3
Thisara Perera 7-0-34-1
Man of The Match: Quinton De Kock.