South Africa v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Kimberley January 19, 2012

Sri Lanka and Smith under pressure

36

Match facts

January 20, Kimberley
Start time 1430 (1230 GMT)

The Big Picture

It's that time of the series, when you wish there was a mercy rule. South Africa have already ensured their trophy cabinet will have an addition, and Sri Lanka are empty handed in a fourth consecutive series since the 2011 World Cup.

After losing the World Cup final, Sri Lanka have endured a miserable nine months on the field, although they are talented and hard-working side. Despite spending nearly eight weeks in South Africa, their batsmen have not got used to the conditions or the opposition. Their bowlers have lacked the killer instinct possessed by the merciless South African attack, and the area of their game that needs the most improvement is the fielding, where the lack of energy has been alarming.

That said, Sri Lanka have improved in every ODI and will feel it's about time they were good enough. The sports ministry has asked for an inquiry into their poor performances and Tillakaratne Dilshan will have to motivate his players to put in two good showings before they head home to face the music.

With the prize already won, South Africa will want to show they can maintain their intensity. The next two matches offer them a chance to test new combinations and give the reserves a run.

Form guide

South Africa WWWLW Sri Lanka LLLLL

Watch out for …

Graeme Smith probably has two more innings to save his one-day career. With Alviro Petersen showing signs that he can take his Test form into the fifty-over format, and Hashim Amla set to return from paternity leave at the end of the series, the axe is hovering over Smith. He has shown a lack of confidence at the crease and has not been able to get going. He needs to soon to prolong his limited-overs career.

At 24, Angelo Mathews appears to have an inordinate amount of responsibility. Not only is he Sri Lanka's vice-captain but he also has to play the role of leading allrounder. He hasn't starred in either role so far. What is evident is that he has the ability to, and has two more opportunities to show South Africa his skills.

Team news …

South Africa are spoilt for choice, particularly in the bowling department. Dale Steyn will be rested for the remaining matches and Wayne Parnell will play. Vernon Philander may get the nod ahead of Morne Morkel, but Johan Botha is unlikely to replace Robin Peterson. The batting line-up will remain the same, with the No. 4 position flexible.

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 Petersen, 9 Wayne Parnell, 10 Morne Morkel/Vernon Philander, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Mahela Jayawardene has been ruled out for the next few weeks with a back injury. Lahiru Thirimanne will play in his place, although his position in the line-up has not been decided. Sachithra Senanayake has arrived in South Africa and trained with the team, but Sri Lanka are yet to decide if two spinners is a viable option at this venue.

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

Pitch and conditions

Although the ground staff left some grass on the Kimberley pitch, the sun will probably bake it into a flat wicket by match time. Temperatures are hotter than in Bloemfontein and both sides can expect to sweat.

Stats and trivia

  • South Africa have won five out of five matches in Kimberley and they chased in all of them. In their only game against Sri Lanka here, in 2002, South Africa won by 8 wickets.

  • In ten matches at this venue, the fast bowlers have taken 99 wickets at 30.56, while spinners have only 17 wickets at 58.11.

Quotes

"The training has been fantastic but sometimes there is more value in not training. There is no exact science. We feel there is a bit of fatigue in the dressing room."
Gary Kirsten explains why South Africa have had some down time over the last two days.

"When you are playing against a team like South Africa, who are playing really good cricket, it's difficult for us to get on top."
Sri Lanka are struggling to match their opposition, according to Mahela Jayawardene.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhiramb on January 20, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Well, "if Smith scores in next 2 innings, he will save his career" - great! It does not matter that his performance has been pathetic in ODI for 5 years!! Looks like SA does not have good options on hand to open the innings in ODI.

  • Andrew_G_CT_RSA on January 20, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Its a bit concerning that according to Gary Kirsten that there is fatigue in the dressing room considering that SA have played relatively little cricket in the last 12 months when compared to most of the other internaitonal teams? Not what you expect to hear from a team that is winning!?

  • Rao.g.s on January 20, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    For srilanka to regain their, they have to arrange for a series against India, this will bring, sanga, mahela, mathews,dilshan back to their prime form.SLC decide soon !!!!

  • Baundele on January 20, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    I do not understand why Thisara Perera is sitting out while some No Name Kosala is in the playing XI. Perera is a wicket taking bowler in pace-friendly pitches. Dilshan is an exciting player; but not a captain material. He can not think. Full stop. Either Sanga or Jayawardene has to do the job. The captain lost the 3rd D/L match.

  • on January 20, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    levi is injured ...thats why alviro is playing...

  • on January 20, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    It's easy forget that Smith started playing international cricket at 22, he's 30 or 31... That is about the same age that Matthew Haden finally cemented himself in the Aussie side. Whether he gets dropped or not, i think we can expect a lot more from Smith in the next few years.

  • Romanticstud on January 20, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Smith must go ... let the people who are scoring come in ... Rest Morkel and Peterson ... Bring in Botha and Philander ... We cannot afford to keep playing all the stars against all the opposition especially with the series in the bag ... We must rotate the squad ... Where is Tahir and Miller in the ODI line-up? ...

  • CKfrombrisbane on January 20, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Ok . Let them to win little bit. As this is not an important series SA can win. But if it is world cup or any series SA can not even think of getting to semi final. Whole world knows how strong SA in playing under pressure. This bold writer should also undestand that fact very well.

  • Abdurrazaaq on January 20, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    I feel Sri Lanka has got some serious talent in their line up(Sanga, J'dene, Dilshan, Mathews, Malinga + Mendis), but the remaining 5 are all bits and pieces of cricketers. They are also suffering from the same syndrome India is suffering from now in Australia, and that is acclimatizing to our quick wickets. Sub continent batsmen really need to improve in that department else they give Australia, South Africa + England no competition when they play away.

  • on January 20, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    I completely agree with Ariyan. Richard Levi will suit the ODI much better than Alviro.

    With stints too far and few between, it surprises me that Smith is still in limited-over teams given his form has been on a steady decline since 2009. He's done so much for SA cricket though, that I understand why he's still around.

    Although we won the 3rd ODI by D/L and secured the series, I would still have preferred the game to be played to completion, even if it meant a possible loss. We had AB at the crease, but Malinga had half his spell left still, and being the perfect death bowler, would have made for one crazy race to the end. What's done is done though. 4th ODI starting in a few hours. Bring it!

  • Abhiramb on January 20, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Well, "if Smith scores in next 2 innings, he will save his career" - great! It does not matter that his performance has been pathetic in ODI for 5 years!! Looks like SA does not have good options on hand to open the innings in ODI.

  • Andrew_G_CT_RSA on January 20, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Its a bit concerning that according to Gary Kirsten that there is fatigue in the dressing room considering that SA have played relatively little cricket in the last 12 months when compared to most of the other internaitonal teams? Not what you expect to hear from a team that is winning!?

  • Rao.g.s on January 20, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    For srilanka to regain their, they have to arrange for a series against India, this will bring, sanga, mahela, mathews,dilshan back to their prime form.SLC decide soon !!!!

  • Baundele on January 20, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    I do not understand why Thisara Perera is sitting out while some No Name Kosala is in the playing XI. Perera is a wicket taking bowler in pace-friendly pitches. Dilshan is an exciting player; but not a captain material. He can not think. Full stop. Either Sanga or Jayawardene has to do the job. The captain lost the 3rd D/L match.

  • on January 20, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    levi is injured ...thats why alviro is playing...

  • on January 20, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    It's easy forget that Smith started playing international cricket at 22, he's 30 or 31... That is about the same age that Matthew Haden finally cemented himself in the Aussie side. Whether he gets dropped or not, i think we can expect a lot more from Smith in the next few years.

  • Romanticstud on January 20, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Smith must go ... let the people who are scoring come in ... Rest Morkel and Peterson ... Bring in Botha and Philander ... We cannot afford to keep playing all the stars against all the opposition especially with the series in the bag ... We must rotate the squad ... Where is Tahir and Miller in the ODI line-up? ...

  • CKfrombrisbane on January 20, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Ok . Let them to win little bit. As this is not an important series SA can win. But if it is world cup or any series SA can not even think of getting to semi final. Whole world knows how strong SA in playing under pressure. This bold writer should also undestand that fact very well.

  • Abdurrazaaq on January 20, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    I feel Sri Lanka has got some serious talent in their line up(Sanga, J'dene, Dilshan, Mathews, Malinga + Mendis), but the remaining 5 are all bits and pieces of cricketers. They are also suffering from the same syndrome India is suffering from now in Australia, and that is acclimatizing to our quick wickets. Sub continent batsmen really need to improve in that department else they give Australia, South Africa + England no competition when they play away.

  • on January 20, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    I completely agree with Ariyan. Richard Levi will suit the ODI much better than Alviro.

    With stints too far and few between, it surprises me that Smith is still in limited-over teams given his form has been on a steady decline since 2009. He's done so much for SA cricket though, that I understand why he's still around.

    Although we won the 3rd ODI by D/L and secured the series, I would still have preferred the game to be played to completion, even if it meant a possible loss. We had AB at the crease, but Malinga had half his spell left still, and being the perfect death bowler, would have made for one crazy race to the end. What's done is done though. 4th ODI starting in a few hours. Bring it!

  • priceless1 on January 20, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    "Despite spending nearly eight weeks in South Africa, their batsmen have not got used to the conditions or the opposition"- what? i though they were competitive in the last two games ,dont know what is Ms Moonda is expecting from them?

  • ShehanJay on January 20, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Only a Christmas miracle can help Sri Lanka today... :D

  • FadeToBlack on January 20, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    @6pack. You have said exactly what i wanted to say. Cheers.

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Wayne Parnell = useless. Biff will bounce back because after winning the series, some pressure is lifted. Don't think the opening combo is right, need to have 1 explosive player and one anchor. And at the moment Smith will want to be the anchor, since he is struggling for form. Bring in Levi! or get Hersch out of exile.

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    srilanka cricket board what thinking. very very bad time for srilankan cricket team.... i think this is not a cricket. school or domestic cricket match for like that. no responsibility for juniors, seniors player in our team.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 20, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    To be perfectly honest, the one man who sparked this pathetic Sri Lanka collapse in the last year was Murali. To have a great bowler out of the side just lke that with no replacement was definitely suicide. The batsman did all right in England, but after that, they all died. Think Mahela captaincy should spark Mahela back up, and make Dilshan concentrate on his batting. Sanga has and still will be good and Thilan looks good too. Once batsman are up running again, Sri Lanka can concentrate on finding actual bowlers. Why Thissara Perera is in the Test Squad but not the ODI team, I have no idea. Why Kulasekera is not in the Test Side? I have no idea. Why Randiv is not playing in place of Mendis? Lot of questionable selections

  • Mid_Wicket on January 20, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    what is this Mahela talking about? He is talking about playing against ateam like South Africa. what a shame this is. He has forgotten everything it seems. sri lanka played against England, Australia and Pakistan prior to this series and lost each and every ODI and Test series. How many teams do you find apart from these teams. poor fellow !!!

  • on January 20, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Inappropriate team selection has cost SL most, more than any other. They pick players without any concern for the players' future. Many who gets ago doesn't get a proper chance to showcase their talents on the field (demands of the match conditions, poor form of the team as a whole, ...). More unfortunately, they get judged on statistical basis, where a keener eye would have suggested otherwise. Selectors & viewers who are impatient in terms of cricketing time-scales are driving the decisions. Their IFs, BUTs & HOW ABOUTs would soon stripe all the things we love about this great game. They'd be lucky if their wild acts doesn't kill the faith of those who play the game before that!

  • KushanS on January 20, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Smith is under pressure is true.But it wont be too long for him to deliver. class never dies...So watch out....As 4 Sri Lanka i think Mahela should take the captaincy. True we havent played for the potential we have consistently but some things that Dilshan does is simply stupid. Bowling changes are terrible which have cost us so many games recently. And a lack of intent in the dressing room just like his batting is clear..Clearly we are 1 batsman short in the squad so cannot blame for the long tail but with the available bowling options this I think is the best. Would like to see Suraj Randiv getting more oppourtunities tho. Rangana Herath mit not be dare around 2015 so need to train Randiv..

  • on January 20, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    "It's that time of the series, when you wish there was a mercy rule." firdose u are good!!

  • CANUCK2003 on January 19, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    Protea will crush Lankans at no time... I would a good idea for lankans to bat first to avoid humilition like previous game.... Go proteas go...

  • on January 19, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    The series has been dealt with already, so why not shake up things a bit and give chances to Sri lankan youngsters (to taste international exposure). This is the stupid mentality that we have, try to make up for the embarrassments after the series is already being decided. We did the same in last 3 series and prevented much needed exposure to the ones who's gonna bail us out in the future. We have no forward thinking at all, I would say play Senanayake, and Thrimanne... at least then SLC can asses them for future tours....One last thing, ask Dilshan to take a break.. no need to put him under more pressure and try what Tharanga can do as the Captain.

  • karansagar on January 19, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    I think SA should keep Faf at third and move Ingram down to sixth. Also bring in Botha for a match and see what happens. SL should move Angelo to third and let Dilshan to sixth with Thrimane opening with Tharanga.

  • on January 19, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Levi is third highest scorer with 146 strike rate in last one day cup. Without levi cape cobra never gain last odi cup&t20 title.Shewag,Gibbs,gilcrist and jaysuriya were also inconsistence bt good stroke maker.Oneday and t20 cricket is so boring without them. Levi,amla,kallis,plessis,villiers,duminy,albie,botha,steyn,morne,tsotsobe.

  • lananad on January 19, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Srilanka could have won the 3rd odi still under DL method is Dilshan had his bowling changes correct. When it was closer to rain he should have bowled his best bowlers. When gave Malinga the ball it was too late. Nuwan should have bowled instead of Kosala. That over cost the game. First I cannot understand why he was in the team anyway. Also there's no need to play too many all rounders. They should have played a specialist bowler instead. Since Nuwan is batting well no need to play an all rounder who is not in the International standard. Dilshan should step down and give Mahela and the test capt should be Thilan.

  • on January 19, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    Why alviro petersen.... Obiously we should choose richard levi. Levi is more young and destructive batsmen than petersen.Bt petersen is perfect just for test.

  • on January 19, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    Smith the omnipresent gladiator likes to take charge.His weapon will yield a big score soon.His form and his marriage has caused the dip.He will be back with a big one soon.

  • ModernBlitzer on January 19, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    "With Alviro Petersen showing signs that he can take his Test form into the fifty-over format"

    Eh?? What signs? A scratchy 17 of 27 balls ending in an ill-advised and frankly pathetic attempt to reverse-sweep a part time off spinner. What's with this constant overrating of SA players by everyone...

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    Srilanka is probably having the longest and the strongest tail in the recent times . in every score over 200 srilankan tail have contributed more than half and anyting lessthan 200 the top order have played it out less than a quarter : but the last match showed some change everyone playing some of their part yet we need to improvise at the top

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Srilanka is probably having the longest and the strongest tail in the recent times . in every score over 200 srilankan tail have contributed more than half and anyting lessthan 200 the top order have played it out less than a quarter : but the last match showed some change everyone playing some of their part yet we need to improvise at the top

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    It's time to wake up lions

  • 6pack on January 19, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    I think Firdose needs to tone the attack down a little. "Despite spending nearly eight weeks in South Africa, their batsmen have not got used to the conditions or the opposition".. Apart from an atrocious game 1, I thought the Sri Lankan batsmen have done fairly well in the ODI's. Tharanga, Chandimal etc have been among the runs... no need to keep badgering the SL team. Sure, they've lost another series, but it wasn't completely unexpected. South Africa has been atrocious in Sri Lanka the last few times they visited, so let's keep things in perspective shall we?

  • Vijay6484 on January 19, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Right time for you, Smith , to prove as there is no pressure havin already won the series. Morkel also should be rested and Philander should definitely play the rest of the series. Johan Botha should be given a chance too by resting Robin. Du plessis should continue playing at No 4.

  • CANUCK2003 on January 19, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Smith it would be good opportunity to score againgt under dogs..... If you cant score againt no way you could do againg mighty dogs......... make use of it...

  • gimme-a-greentop on January 19, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    man it's a strange world where Johan Botha can't even get into this team. Not saying Robin Petersen doesn't deserve his place, but geez Botha is a good one day spinner...

  • bestbuddy on January 19, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    A bit melodramatic re: Smiths career; he is actually younger than Peterson by close to a year and 30 is hardly young. He does have to produce in order to be part of the team in the short term though

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  • bestbuddy on January 19, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    A bit melodramatic re: Smiths career; he is actually younger than Peterson by close to a year and 30 is hardly young. He does have to produce in order to be part of the team in the short term though

  • gimme-a-greentop on January 19, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    man it's a strange world where Johan Botha can't even get into this team. Not saying Robin Petersen doesn't deserve his place, but geez Botha is a good one day spinner...

  • CANUCK2003 on January 19, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Smith it would be good opportunity to score againgt under dogs..... If you cant score againt no way you could do againg mighty dogs......... make use of it...

  • Vijay6484 on January 19, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Right time for you, Smith , to prove as there is no pressure havin already won the series. Morkel also should be rested and Philander should definitely play the rest of the series. Johan Botha should be given a chance too by resting Robin. Du plessis should continue playing at No 4.

  • 6pack on January 19, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    I think Firdose needs to tone the attack down a little. "Despite spending nearly eight weeks in South Africa, their batsmen have not got used to the conditions or the opposition".. Apart from an atrocious game 1, I thought the Sri Lankan batsmen have done fairly well in the ODI's. Tharanga, Chandimal etc have been among the runs... no need to keep badgering the SL team. Sure, they've lost another series, but it wasn't completely unexpected. South Africa has been atrocious in Sri Lanka the last few times they visited, so let's keep things in perspective shall we?

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    It's time to wake up lions

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Srilanka is probably having the longest and the strongest tail in the recent times . in every score over 200 srilankan tail have contributed more than half and anyting lessthan 200 the top order have played it out less than a quarter : but the last match showed some change everyone playing some of their part yet we need to improvise at the top

  • on January 19, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    Srilanka is probably having the longest and the strongest tail in the recent times . in every score over 200 srilankan tail have contributed more than half and anyting lessthan 200 the top order have played it out less than a quarter : but the last match showed some change everyone playing some of their part yet we need to improvise at the top

  • ModernBlitzer on January 19, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    "With Alviro Petersen showing signs that he can take his Test form into the fifty-over format"

    Eh?? What signs? A scratchy 17 of 27 balls ending in an ill-advised and frankly pathetic attempt to reverse-sweep a part time off spinner. What's with this constant overrating of SA players by everyone...

  • on January 19, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    Smith the omnipresent gladiator likes to take charge.His weapon will yield a big score soon.His form and his marriage has caused the dip.He will be back with a big one soon.