South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Bloemfontein January 16, 2012

Kallis, Amla absence gives Sri Lanka an opening

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Match facts

January 17, Bloemfontein
Start time 1430 (1230 GMT)

The Big Picture

It is tough to find positives when you are 0-2 down in a five-match series, but Sri Lanka have cause for relief following their show in the second ODI. They stretched South Africa for a fleeting passage of play in the last game, suggesting they had woken up from the 43 all out nightmare. It was a game the visitors conceded with eight balls to spare, leaving in its wake a series of ifs and buts. If Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal had produced 15 more runs in the end overs, if Tillakaratne Dilshan had shown more perceptiveness with his bowling changes, if Lasith Malinga had somehow clung on to a tough return catch off the first ball that Albie Morkel faced, the result could have been different. But South Africa outlasted the best Sri Lanka had to offer, and are a game away from taking the series.

Bloemfontein will offer Sri Lanka their best chance of securing a win, if only because they won't have to contend with Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla. Colin Ingram and Alviro Petersen come in with impressive domestic form - and Test runs in the latter's case. Still South Africa will be vulnerable without Amla and Kallis, especially given how scratchy Graeme Smith, the other senior in the top order, has been in recent times.

Sri Lanka have injury worries of their own, with Dilhara Fernando doubtful for the second game running, and Ajantha Mendis on the flight back home. The three men who matter are still in town, though, and time is running out for all of them. Dilshan is yet to make a run in the series, Mahela Jayawardene is yet to make more than 31 on the tour, and Kumar Sangakkara's pitiable 3 off 28 balls in East London potentially cost Sri Lanka the extra 20 runs that may have won them the game. Will they turn the tide in Bloemfontein?

Form guide


South Africa WWLWL (Most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLLLL

Watch out for...

Rangana Herath is not the first-choice limited-overs spinner in Sri Lanka, but the injury to Ajantha Mendis gives him the opportunity to assume that mantle. Herath bowled a wicketless but impressive spell in East London, beating Kallis' edge repeatedly both with spin and the lack of it. An afternoon start under sunny skies in Bloemfontein could offer him the assistance he needs to make a more telling contribution.

South Africa's renewed focus on rotation gives Colin Ingram a rare opportunity to break into a top order otherwise cast in stone. He's cracked consecutive hundreds for the Warriors franchise in the SuperSport series, and 521 runs at 57.88 in the Franchise 1-day Cup. He's already asked for the No. 3 spot, a position that's likely to be his for the next couple of games at the very least. Runs from him will give South Africa a welcome selection headache in the future.

Team news

Fernando could sit out once again with the knee injury that prevented him from playing in East London. Allrounder Kosala Kulasekara hasn't contributed in the first two games, and might make way for Thisara Perera. The pitch will be flat, hard and full of runs, and Sri Lanka were reportedly considering playing a second spinner. However, the uncapped Sachithra Senanayake, who was called up to replace Mendis, is yet to reach South Africa due to visa delays.

Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera/Kosala Kulasekara, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Dhammika Prasad

Ingram and Petersen are almost certain to play. The more interesting selection could be Vernon Philander, who, on Test form, deserves to walk into the XI. However, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel have bowled well enough to retain their spots in the XI. If Philander has to play, Dale Steyn may have to be benched, which won't be a bad idea given the workload he has endured in recent months. South Africa may wait till the series is won before doing that.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Dale Steyn/Vernon Philander, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Morne Morkel

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have played five completed games in Bloemfontein, with a 2-3 win-loss record. All three defeats came against the hosts
  • With six wickets in two games, Johan Botha has taken more wickets at this venue than any of the other bowlers who might play on Tuesday. The games were against Kenya and Zimbabwe, though.

Quotes

"It's a very big game for us. We're not taking it lightly. Even with some of the new guys coming in, we have the foundations in place. We're starting over again, our feet are firmly on the ground."

AB de Villiers knows the series is yet to be won

"We know we can beat any team at any given opportunity. We just need to click, the batting and bowling. We are a very good team if we click at the right time."

Angelo Matthews points out what is ailing the Sri Lankan side

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY tallgrass on | January 17, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Ridiculous team selection once again! Sachitra Senanayake and Thisara Perera should be in this lousy team NOT the Kulasekaras!

  • POSTED BY Xtra-Cover on | January 17, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    Dilshan has to play like a real captain, Sanga and Mahela got to put some big scores on the board and Anjelo..plz...forget about helping other batsmen to make 100s by scoring singles when the team needs boundaries from you.... and the SL bowlers should get most out of SA - bouncing wickets...Good Luck Sri Lanka!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    "Kallis, Amla absence gives Sri Lanka an opening" - How dare to say you like that author?... Sri Lanka is little bit back because of the batsman not in their form. 2 matches lost because of that not of the amla or kallis.... please see what will happen to 4th match & so forth while those 2 players in the team... dont be bios for a one country author!

  • POSTED BY kalof123 on | January 17, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    DROp MAHELa and SANGA, SL is going to win this match. They are the controvesy behind teams failure. they are negative batters. very slow. selfish batter who likes to score fifties or 100. useless players. defensive batters. even kulasekara bat better than them.. drop them SL team will be performing better.

  • POSTED BY mansoor777 on | January 17, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    Please Take Samaraweera in ODI Squad. He was sucessfull in test Series so need to be taken in ODI as he can do well in South African condition. Else Srilanka will Struggle

  • POSTED BY Penny71 on | January 17, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Its do or die. If SL fail this, then rest of the matches are just batting or rather lack of it practice for the triangular tournament in Aussie. I won't bet my money on SL in Aussie either.

    We need positive and intelligent cricketers, not just lethargic bunch of school cricketers

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 17, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Dilshan though when strikes it can be devastating but is far inconsistent.. He is the best bet available with lots of experience..

  • POSTED BY djkaveesh on | January 17, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    cant blame on Sanga n Mahela, they have recoverd Sri lanka in many times.. Dilshan and others have to play well..

  • POSTED BY sharj33l on | January 17, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    best of LUck for lanka today..... hope if devilier and ingram fail otherwise no chance.......

  • POSTED BY Akheel on | January 17, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Mahela needs to open and swap places with Dilshan. All batting issues with SL be resolved, this way.

  • POSTED BY tallgrass on | January 17, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Ridiculous team selection once again! Sachitra Senanayake and Thisara Perera should be in this lousy team NOT the Kulasekaras!

  • POSTED BY Xtra-Cover on | January 17, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    Dilshan has to play like a real captain, Sanga and Mahela got to put some big scores on the board and Anjelo..plz...forget about helping other batsmen to make 100s by scoring singles when the team needs boundaries from you.... and the SL bowlers should get most out of SA - bouncing wickets...Good Luck Sri Lanka!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    "Kallis, Amla absence gives Sri Lanka an opening" - How dare to say you like that author?... Sri Lanka is little bit back because of the batsman not in their form. 2 matches lost because of that not of the amla or kallis.... please see what will happen to 4th match & so forth while those 2 players in the team... dont be bios for a one country author!

  • POSTED BY kalof123 on | January 17, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    DROp MAHELa and SANGA, SL is going to win this match. They are the controvesy behind teams failure. they are negative batters. very slow. selfish batter who likes to score fifties or 100. useless players. defensive batters. even kulasekara bat better than them.. drop them SL team will be performing better.

  • POSTED BY mansoor777 on | January 17, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    Please Take Samaraweera in ODI Squad. He was sucessfull in test Series so need to be taken in ODI as he can do well in South African condition. Else Srilanka will Struggle

  • POSTED BY Penny71 on | January 17, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Its do or die. If SL fail this, then rest of the matches are just batting or rather lack of it practice for the triangular tournament in Aussie. I won't bet my money on SL in Aussie either.

    We need positive and intelligent cricketers, not just lethargic bunch of school cricketers

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 17, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Dilshan though when strikes it can be devastating but is far inconsistent.. He is the best bet available with lots of experience..

  • POSTED BY djkaveesh on | January 17, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    cant blame on Sanga n Mahela, they have recoverd Sri lanka in many times.. Dilshan and others have to play well..

  • POSTED BY sharj33l on | January 17, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    best of LUck for lanka today..... hope if devilier and ingram fail otherwise no chance.......

  • POSTED BY Akheel on | January 17, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Mahela needs to open and swap places with Dilshan. All batting issues with SL be resolved, this way.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    kALIIS,AMLA ABSENCE WILL SURELY GET BENEFITTED SRI LANAKA.BOTH OF THEM SUCH KIND OF PLAYERS ONCE GET IN DIFFICULT TO DISLODGE.BOTH OF THEM ARE EQUALLY GOOD PLAYER OF SPIN BOWLING IN SOUTH AFRCA

  • POSTED BY anver777 on | January 17, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    SL badly need a strong performance in this 3rd match to stay alive in the series...... Mahela's record as opener is very good & it has worked previously.. so he should open the innings with Tharanga & provide a solid foundation, Dilshan can use his long handle in the batting PP...all SL supporters hoping for a Win today !! Good Luck !!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Absence doesnt make any difference for 5-0 white wash for SL. As long as non-performing Mahel plays, Miserable Dilshan to score 10 runs, struggling Sanga (3 runs - 28 deliveries), Selfish Angelo. Unstopable 5-0.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    All the best S.L.Once you start .no one can stop you

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    against our pace attack not a chance, including Lopsys run choking ability, another series wrap up for South Africa, btw we last lost at Bloem in 2002, plenty bounce on that track, sub continent teams have always failed there

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    @om.pani : Are you nuts, didnt you know AB de villiers is the captain from the beginning of this odi series

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    I'm sure.... Our Lions will win today!!!! :)

  • POSTED BY kalins on | January 17, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    SL needs more thinking selectors and coaching. This is not just school cricket. We need to do the changes in batting order soon. And the selection of bowlers @ right time during the game. Team work is a must factor with better feilding. Take attitude to 100%

  • POSTED BY slcricket on | January 17, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    "Kosala Kulasekara hasn't contributed" That's complete bull. His heroic 19 in Paarl saved SL from the embaressment of the lowest ever score

  • POSTED BY ShehanJay on | January 17, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    If Sri Lanka wins the toss and decides to bat, they will probably aim for a score above 270 and fall short. Dilshan will fail once again, while Tharanga, Sanga and Mahela may score 20s or 30s. Dinesh Chandimal will be the surprise package.

  • POSTED BY miles100 on | January 17, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    It's hard to succeed as captain when captain opens batting.Mark Taylor as captain failed in WC final.Dilshan falied recently.Tendulkar Failed.Graham smith failed in all WCs.Skippers should bat at 5,6 or7.Imran Khan at No 7 won the WC.Dhoni at No:6 won the WC,Border at no:5 won WC,Arjuna at no:5 won the WC.Steve war at No:5 won the WC.Exception for Ricky Ponting who won 2 world cups batting at no:3 since middle order Clarke/Hussy & opener Gilchrist Played like leaders.Rule no1:If Dilshan wants to remain as captain,he must bat at no:5 or if he wants to continue opening he should give the captaincy to Mahela who now bats at 5 or to Mathews who who was successful at no:6.SL middle order struggled bcoz all the seniors were batting at top order like babies,Selfish.SL bowling struggled because their strengths are spinners & they only played 1 spinner.They must play 2 spinners 1 specialist+1All round.SL also lacks a another fast bowler like Malinga to bowl over 140kph regularly & take wickets.

  • POSTED BY Decimus on | January 17, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    Mahela has to open and Dilshan can go down the order till he gets back to form/gives up the burden of captaincy. If you look at stats, it shows that Mahela has the stats of a great opening batsman. My batting lineup: 1.)Mahela 2.)Tharanga 3.)Chandimal 4.)Sangakkara 5.)Dilshan 6.)Mathews

  • POSTED BY kumara007 on | January 17, 2012, 1:27 GMT

    Gives chance?..very ironic statement! It's true that Sri Lanka hasn't been in the best of form in recent times..but it doesn't mean it need any "Chances" to win..SL has a good team and with a fantastic records and they can beat the best sides in the world on any given day..it's just so unfortunate that they're going through a rough patch!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    Sri Lanka should change the captain !

  • POSTED BY Indike on | January 17, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Let Mahela Jayawardena open the batting, the runs will come.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Yes Sinhaya - and I should have been a billionaire...

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    Jayawardne suffers pressure by being dropped down to five you should notice he did well against England opening and in the world cup at 4

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    Have to admit I'm somewhat surprised and disappointed that Kallis has been 'rested' for the rest of this ODI series. I realise that he is towards the back end of his career and that his workload has to be carefully managed but if a batsman of his class is playing as well as he is...I've never seen him bat better....with the possible exception of 2004 and 2007 when he equalled and then almost broke the Dons record of five hundreds in consecutive tests....you'd think you would want to maintain the confidence and momentum by batting as much and as long as you can. If CSA keep persisting with this strategy of picking and choosing his ODI cricket then inevitably there'll come a time when he won't get back in... and even for someone as great as he is no-one is ever guaranteed a place in any South African XI?

  • POSTED BY COOLANKA on | January 16, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    dilshan is a good batsman there is no dought but his captaincy is not good atall, dil you are the best opener that we have so leave the captaincy to anybody, and play your natural game, come on guy let's stop loosing streak, we want win win win...i'm sure tomorrow they will end team the error and start winning.....

  • POSTED BY Raaakz on | January 16, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Actually what's Faf Du Plessis doing in this squad... He is going unnoticed as the team keeps on winning... Surprising he is the only guy in the team who never comes into any discussion... 316 runs @ 26.33 with one half century and a solitary wicket from 15 ODI doesn't look for good reading

  • POSTED BY priceless1 on | January 16, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    if they can score a total somewhere around 250 then they can really test the Sa batting order specially when Dilhara fernando is not playing so no one is there to leak runs from one end ...

  • POSTED BY MAK123 on | January 16, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    Guys, let me give you the complete picture: SA will bat first, the betting rate will read 1.38 - 1.39; punters will lay on 1.39 and wait 100 overs for hedging, which will never arrive...SA will score 275 runs; Sri Lanka will make a mess of the chase and SA will win in the end....These guys are only making a fool out of you so please don't bet on them!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    drop dilshan and mahela,

  • POSTED BY Amol_Gh on | January 16, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Any SA player has just to look at SRL's form guide for inspiration.

  • POSTED BY rukii on | January 16, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    I prefer new spinner sachithra sennayake over kosala kulasekara. sachithra is a better bowler and a handy batsmaen .sennayake would give more variety to the team and kosala is not a good prospect as a fast bowler. every one in the tail end can bat so it is better to go with sennayake rather than kosala. my team is 1)tharanga 2)dilshan 3)sanga 4)dinesh 5)mahela 6)mathews 7)nuwan kulasekara 8)sennayake 9)prasad 10)herath 11)malinga

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    @sinhaya, you are drinking your bath water...Where in the game were sri lanka in control at all?It was an easy and calculated victory for the proteas.

  • POSTED BY zerotollerance on | January 16, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Dinesh chandimal is now Sri lankas best batsman. He should bat at no 3. Mahela And sanga needs to be dropped immediately until they get back to form. Both have failed in all forms of matches. Sangas 100 in the test match was after he was dropped on 3. Both should pave the way of new batsmen. It's time for new faces. Retire guys. Have some shame

  • POSTED BY DwightR on | January 16, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    SL need to add an extra batsmen, bring on Samareweera to the middle order. the line up should be- 1. Dilshan 2. Tharanga 3. Sanga 4. Mahela 5. Thilan 6. Chandimal 7. Mathews 8. Thissira 9. N Kulasekkera 10. Malinga 11. Hearath

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Srilankans only playing against India only.. you can get the statistics and came to know that.. Especilly Jayawardane is the super example...

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    dude this is not the best we have to offer,half our fast bowlers are injured lmao.If we had them we would've given a better fight and won

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    Srilanka have lost the plot and its by making the wrong selection of the captain, Dilshan may be the good player but he is not so good for captaining Srilanka yet. Sanga was much better choice i don't know why they changed him, there must be some sort of politics going on or may be Srilankan board has got it all wrong. The rapid overhaul is required in future... mykhan

  • POSTED BY world.cricketer on | January 16, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    SL needed some changes at top order especially dilshan not at all looking good at the top and chandimal should open he is inform batsam.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    IF Hashim is out then who's the acting vice captain.??

  • POSTED BY om.pani on | January 16, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Sanga plz dont repeat 3 runs for 28 ball.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | January 16, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Sri Lanka should bat first and post 270 plus and should be safe! Sri Lankans should have easily won the 2nd ODI indeed.

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  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | January 16, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Sri Lanka should bat first and post 270 plus and should be safe! Sri Lankans should have easily won the 2nd ODI indeed.

  • POSTED BY om.pani on | January 16, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Sanga plz dont repeat 3 runs for 28 ball.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    IF Hashim is out then who's the acting vice captain.??

  • POSTED BY world.cricketer on | January 16, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    SL needed some changes at top order especially dilshan not at all looking good at the top and chandimal should open he is inform batsam.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    Srilanka have lost the plot and its by making the wrong selection of the captain, Dilshan may be the good player but he is not so good for captaining Srilanka yet. Sanga was much better choice i don't know why they changed him, there must be some sort of politics going on or may be Srilankan board has got it all wrong. The rapid overhaul is required in future... mykhan

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    dude this is not the best we have to offer,half our fast bowlers are injured lmao.If we had them we would've given a better fight and won

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Srilankans only playing against India only.. you can get the statistics and came to know that.. Especilly Jayawardane is the super example...

  • POSTED BY DwightR on | January 16, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    SL need to add an extra batsmen, bring on Samareweera to the middle order. the line up should be- 1. Dilshan 2. Tharanga 3. Sanga 4. Mahela 5. Thilan 6. Chandimal 7. Mathews 8. Thissira 9. N Kulasekkera 10. Malinga 11. Hearath

  • POSTED BY zerotollerance on | January 16, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Dinesh chandimal is now Sri lankas best batsman. He should bat at no 3. Mahela And sanga needs to be dropped immediately until they get back to form. Both have failed in all forms of matches. Sangas 100 in the test match was after he was dropped on 3. Both should pave the way of new batsmen. It's time for new faces. Retire guys. Have some shame

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    @sinhaya, you are drinking your bath water...Where in the game were sri lanka in control at all?It was an easy and calculated victory for the proteas.