%AM, %13 %165 %2018 %08:%Aug

Destructive Dananjaya subjects Proteas to third worst defeat

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Akila Dananjaya produced one of his most destructive spells of spin bowling taking a career best six wickets for 29 runs to rout South Africa for 121 and give Sri Lanka an overwhelming win by 178 runs in the fifth and final ODI played under lights at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday.

South Africa won the five-match series 3-2 after taking a 3-0 lead by winning the first three matches. However Sri Lanka came back strongly in the last two matches to secure back to back victories by winning the fourth and fifth ODIs.

Yesterday’s win came on the back of a captain’s knock of 97 not out scored at a run a ball from Angelo Mathews, an innings that provided the bedrock for their total of 299-8 after choosing to bat first.

South Africa were pushed onto the back foot right from the very first over when Suranga Lakmal castled Hashim Amla for a duck with the fourth ball of the innings.

Captain Angelo Mathews drives during his innings of 97 not out in the fifth and final ODI against South Africa at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday. AFP

From there onwards it was a struggle for the Proteas to chase down Sri Lanka’s challenging total on a pitch that had begun to get slow and offer some turn. Dananjaya struck in his third over by having Aiden Markram caught and bowled for 20 and continued to weave a web around the rest of the batsmen adding the wickets of Reeza Hendricks (0) and Henry Klaasen (3) before coming off from his first spell of five overs with figures of 3 for 20.

He returned for his second spell in the 18th over with South Africa struggling at 93-6 to complete the rout taking a further 3 wickets for 9 runs off four overs to subject the opponents to their third worst defeat in history (by runs).

They lost by 182 runs to Pakistan at Port Elizabeth in 2002 and by 180 runs to Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in 2013.

Dananjaya’s figures is the second best by a bowler in ODIs against South Africa after West Indian spinner Sunil Naraine’s 6/27 at Providence in 2016 and the second best at this venue after Angelo Mathew’s 6 for 20 against India in 2009.

Quinton de Kock leading South Africa in the last two ODIs of the series in the absence of injured skipper Faf du Plessis who has returned home, was the only South African batsman to offer any kind of resistance against the rampaging Dananjaya.

De Kock stuck it out for 57 balls to make a top score of 54 (7 fours) before he finally became a victim of Dananjaya’s mastery failing to pick his googly and being castled. The rest of the batting had hardly anything to offer as Kumara, Lakmal and Dhananjaya de Silva also chipped in with wickets.

Sri Lanka’s total of 299-8 comprised four 50-plus partnerships – two of them involving Mathews who batted right to the end to remain not out on 97 with the aid of 11 fours and a six. He was unfortunate to miss out on a hundred when the overs ran out. It was the fourth occasion that he has been either stranded or dismissed in the nineties.

Openers Dickwella and Tharanga posted exactly 50 off 51 balls and following Tharanga’s dismissal for 19, Dickwella formed a liaison of 50 with Kusal Mendis (38) for the third wicket.

Further stands of 53 for the fifth wicket and 52 for the sixth followed between Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva (30) and Mathews and Thisara Perera (13) that boosted Sri Lanka’s total near the 300-run mark.

It was a solid display of batting by the Lankans something that had been lacking in their arsenal for quite awhile. It seems as if the team decision to prepare good batting wickets for ODIs from the third match of the series has started to pay dividends with Sri Lanka posting totals of 285, 306-7 and 299-8.

The win coincided with the R Premadasa Stadium hosting its 100th day-night game, the fourth to do so overall after Sydney (149), Sharjah (112) and Melbourne (105).

South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy took the Player of the Series award, while Dananjaya won the Man of the Match.

The two teams will meet at the same venue on Tuesday for a one-off T20I which will conclude South Africa’s six-week tour of Sri Lanka.

(Daily News)

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