South Africa suffered their third worst ODI defeat in history when they lost the fifth and final ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday by 178 runs.
The main cause for their defeat was the devastating bowling of Dananjaya who went onto take a career best six wickets for 29 to bowl South Africa out for 121 chasing a target of 300.
“Dananjaya bowled very well we have played him awhile in the series before but coming up to this game tonight it was very difficult to pick him initially in the night. Have to give it to him can’t take that away from him,” said De Kock at the post-match press conference.
De Kock was one of Dananjaya’s six victims getting bowled for 54 to a googly which he failed to pick.
“We picked him really well during the whole series but tonight just goes to show what happened, he got his skills better, he just performed really well and he just bamboozled us. Credit to him till the next time we face him,” said De Kock.
After winning the first three ODIs in a row South Africa faltered in the last two and De Kock gave credit to Sri Lanka for putting pressure on them.
“The first two games especially we didn’t have the biggest targets to chase, the last two games especially Sri Lanka’s batting line up had a lot of freedom they put a lot of pressure on us. They set us big challenging totals. We tried our best especially in the fourth ODI I thought we batted really well but unfortunately we couldn’t finish it off and, tonight Dananjaya bowled really well.”
For South Africa who had lost the two-Test series 2-0 it was all about winning in the subcontinent and their 3-2 win in the ODI brought them some sort of satisfaction. “To come to Sri Lanka in the subcontinent especially it’s difficult to win a series as we saw in the Test matches. It was never easy for us. Coming to the ODIs and winning the series and to do it in the first 3 games pleases us; it pleases me and our team. To do it in the first two games was a big plus for us, it was never easy initially but we did it,” said de Kock.
MAN OF STEEL
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said the two back to back wins was a good confidence booster but unfortunately it came a bit too late.
“If we could have won one of the first three games it would have been a tremendous series. Nevertheless winning the last couple of games gives you that confidence and the brand of cricket that we want to play. I think we showcased that and today’s performance was a clinical one by the team,” said Mathews who played a leading role with the bat to top score with an unbeaten 97 an innings that formed the base of Sri Lanka’s total of 299-8.
Mathews described his match winning bowler Dananjaya as ‘made out of steel’ for coming back the way he did after being hit for 81 runs in ten overs in the third ODI.
“Akila has been bowling so well for us over the past year and a half. You can have a couple of off days but he has been consistent with his performances. He showed once again what he’s capable of. He’s made out of steel. Going for runs in the last couple of games and coming back with a six-for in this game was fantastic,” said Mathews.
“As a team you want to keep developing and keep striving to be the best we can. We showed a glimpse of what we can do. We need to keep playing on good wickets because we’re not going to get dusty slow wickets when we go overseas. We’re going to play on good solid wickets.
“The batsmen have to score runs and the bowlers are always under pressure. The bowlers will also learn and the batsmen will learn how to score 300 consistently. That is something that we’re looking forward to. We need to limit our shortcomings in every game.
“Our fielding wasn’t that good. There was not a match in which we did all three disciplines well in the first three games. Either the batsmen failed, or the bowlers failed. Because of that we lost the first three matches. The positives are there. The way Akila Dananjaya, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Perera played was good. For that I’m happy,” he said.