Zoysa inspires 37-run win
Sri Lanka 213 for 9 (Sangakkara 63, Chandana 61*) beat South Africa 176 (Pollock 54, Zoysa 5-26) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Nuwan Zoysa celebrated the last day of his bachelorhood - he gets married tomorrow before the team's departure to Dambulla - with a stump-flying career-best five-wicket burst that decimated South Africa at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Chasing Sri Lanka's 213 for 9 on a bone-dry pitch, they were bowled out for 176, to hand Sri Lanka a 2-0 series lead.
Sri Lanka had expected the spinners to do the major damage this morning, when they drafted in Rangana Herath as an extra slow-bowling option, but by the time the first spinner appeared, Sri Lanka were already halfway home thanks to the discipline of Chaminda Vaas and the snap of Zoysa.
Herschelle Gibbs started the top-order meltdown as his wretched form continued. He'd survived the first five overs, but never looked at ease, jabbing uncertainly at the ball and frequently playing across the line. His eventual downfall was his worst misjudgment as a failed pull off a good-length ball left his stumps splayed (15 for 1).
South Africa, experimenting with the top order again, sent in Nicky Boje as a pinch-hitter. His form had also been poor, but after a circumspect start, he looked to have clicked after a lofted four and sweet cover-drive in Zoysa's fifth over. But those were the last runs before four wickets tumbled in quick succession.
First, Boje (14) tried to drive Zoysa on the up and skewed a catch to Tillakaratne Dilshan, who clung on to a fine overhead catch running backwards at point (35 for 2). Graeme Smith (14) then flattened his leg stump when he chopped on Zoysa's next delivery (36 for 3). The prize scalp, though, was Jacques Kallis, unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to a delivery that pitched just outside leg (37 for 4).
Just when it seemed it couldn't get worse, Jacques Rudolph (4) edged behind to complete Zoysa's first one-day five-for (40 for 5). To be fair, he will bowl better and get far less - South Africa had gifted him two wickets and the umpire one. But it was also just reward for a bowler who has battled so hard to reclaim his place in the team.
When the spinners did arrive, in the 17th over, they did not have to wait long to get into the action. Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who finished the first match with an arrogant six, drew Mark Boucher into a cover-drive with an enticing legbreak and Mahela Jayawardene gobbled up the catch at slip (50 for 6).
Shaun Pollock and J-P Duminy - the great new batting hope who came in at No. 8 for the second successive game - halted the wicket-rush for a while with a 44-run stand. But progress was too slow and the run rate was rising fast by the time the out-of-form Lance Klusener entered the arena after Dilshan had trapped Duminy lbw for 22 (94 for 7).
When the final ten overs started, South Africa needed exactly 100. Although Pollock was now striking the ball cleanly, scoring 54 from 78 balls with two fours, and Klusener produced a couple of meaty clumps, Sri Lanka were home and dry. Dilshan cashed in with his part-time offbreaks, taking 4 for 52.
Earlier, South Africa had taken control of proceedings after Sri Lanka squandered the advantage of the toss with a distinctly ordinary top-order display, collapsing to 86 for 5 before Kumar Sangakkara (63) and Upul Chandana (61 not out) revived the nosediving innings with a Sri Lankan record sixth-wicket partnership of 93.
The bowlers were more disciplined than the previous evening - though hardly menacing - but a trail of poor strokes had left Sri Lanka in a dire position, starting with Sanath Jayasuriya, who misjudged the line of a Pollock delivery that straightened enough to beat a last-second jab across the line and clip the top of off stump (18 for 1).
Avishka Gunawardene was his typically awkward early-innings self, spanking the odd ball gloriously and then feeling for others with his legs seemingly stuck in cement. One ferocious blow over extra cover nearly decapitated his colleagues sitting in their boundary-side tent. But, with hindsight, Gunawardene will have regretted the six, as it brought Makhaya Ntini into the attack. Ntini found his outside edge with his first ball and he was out for 21 (45 for 2).
Straight after the first drinks break, South Africa tightened their grip. First, Marvan Atapattu feathered a catch to Boucher off a wide Ntini delivery and then, with runs having completely dried up, Jayawardene was caught behind for a duck off Klusener (72 for 4). The arrival of Kallis - replacing Klusener, who conceded just 12 runs in six overs - further deepened Sri Lanka's woes when Dilshan, surprised by some extra bounce, edged to Pollock at a wide slip (86 for 5).
Chandana's busy arrival at the crease helped turn the innings around. Just 24 hours after being the victim of a road-rage attack that left him shocked and bruised, and his son traumatised, Chandana industriously worked singles and scampered twos to kick-start the scoring again. Sangakkara, the last specialist batsman, was content playing the anchor role during the partnership's early stages, before opening up and speeding to his half-century.
Just when a score of 230 looked on the cards, a brace of carbon-copy run-outs checked the runscoring: first Sangakkara then Vaas were sent back and caught short after flicks straight to midwicket (188 for 7). Kallis also chipped in with a couple of late wickets, trapping Lokuarachchi lbw and bowling Nuwan Zoysa off the last ball of the innings. Kallis finished with 3 for 20.
The defeat extended South Africa's dismal one-day run to seven straight defeats, the second-worst losing run in their history. With the coach publicly admitting that he is close to walking out, the tourists could not be in worse spirits as they pack their bags for the four-hour journey north to Dambulla, the venue for the third and fourth matches.