South Africa v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Johannesburg January 22, 2012

AB masters the scoop

Plays of the Day for the fifth ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa

Celebration of the day
Graeme Smith has not had a moment like this since 2009. After mistiming, slamming with power but no placement and eventually settling into his usual rhythm of muscular blows and meaty punches, Smith nudged one around the corner to bring his first ODI century in 28 months. The joy overflowed as he ran to the edge of the circle, took his helmet off and pointed his bat at the South African changeroom for what seemed like the entire length of his cricketing career. On realising that Smith was not moving, AB de Villiers made to his way to his former captain to give him a congratulatory hug. When de Villiers released him, Smith stayed with his arms in the air and rotated around the whole stadium, saluting the fans who, at the start of the season, booed him at this very venue.

The AB scoop
Unlike the Sri Lankan captain, AB de Villiers does not have a shot named after him, yet. After this innings he should. With a view to accelerating South Africa's score when Albie Morkel was dismissed, de Villiers tested one of his more audacious strokes in the penultimate over. Thisara Perera tried to bowl full outside off but de Villiers had walked so far away from his stumps, he was almost on the grass. He swivelled, angled his bat and scooped the ball over fine leg for six. The next ball, just for good measure, he did it again. The AB scoop had arrived.

Drop of the day
Morne Morkel has put down a few this series but one of his more difficult chances was the opportunity Upul Tharanga presented him with in his second over. He slammed a length ball straight back at Morkel. Although it was at catchable height, the force behind it was too much and the ball struck Morkel's left hand hard. He couldn't hold on it and immediately called for the physiotherapist. Not only did Morkel concede three runs but he had to leave the field to have the strapping put on. JP Duminy completed the over and Morkel returned for the next one, with his ring finger wrapped up.

Mop up of the day
While neither bowling side could dry up the runs, the Wanderers groundstaff once again proved to be the most efficient mops. With Highveld thunderstorms expected at this time of year, when the skies darkened and the heavens opened, most of the locals nodded sagely, expecting a short, sharp shower. When the rain came down at 3pm, with no wind in the air, it seemed it would be much longer. Fortunately, a breeze soon arrived and conditions lightened. As soon as they did, the staff were in their positions, commandeering the super sopper and sweeping water off the covers. Within 55 minutes, the rain had stopped, the ground was dry and play resumed.

Air snatch of the day
South Africa's series has been characterised by superb catching and there was yet another during this match. Lonwabo Tsotsobe relied on variation to try and take wickets and tried the slower ball against Tharanga. The Sri Lankan opener slashed and found an outside edge that looped towards cover. Duminy had to turn around and run away from the pitch but had gone a little too far and eventually had to snatch the ball out of the air over his shoulder. He did to complete a picture-perfect dismissal.

Deft touch of the day
With Kumar Sangakkara holding things together on his end, it was up to the rest of the Sri Lankan batsmen to whittle down the chase. None of them appeared overly panicked by the task and Lahiru Thirimanne's shot at that start of the 36th over captured the relative calm. Tsotsobe bowled a slightly wide, length ball and the Sri Lankan No. 5 guided it off the face to third man. It was delicate and elegant, the way Sri Lankan greats like Mahela Jayawardene play the game.

Game-change of the day
Robin Peterson threatened to perform the ultimate anti-choke when he took two wickets in three balls in the final over. But the match took its final twist in the tail when Sachitra Senananyake flat batted him for six. The youngster only made his debut one match ago and faced a loud Bull Ring crowd but kept his cool to win the match for Sri Lanka and take their margin of defeat in the series to just one.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ronald on January 24, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    @ ballumlakka AB shows his spirit in test matches he trust the player when he was 99...... but we want to say some thing about ms.moonda, because she heavily one sided when writing articles, she better to write some things like review SA 2011 or some individual articles about their own players..................

  • Hannes on January 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Is it just me or is AB de Villiers playing on an entirely different plane from the rest of the cricketing world in ODIs over the past couple of years? Since February 2010 he's played 31 ODIs, averaging 73.3 at a strike rate well over 101, with 8 centuries and 8 fifties. Add to this his superlative fielding skills and now the dual wicket-keeper/captaincy role, and you see why he might just be the most valuable one-day player on the planet right now. No need to name a shot after the man - I say name an award after him instead!

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    On "AB Scoop" , that was normal 'paddle sweep' :)

  • Priya on January 23, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    What's more? deVil scoop sounds a lot cooler than Dil Scoop!!

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    No body can touch it...IT'S DIL-SCOOP 4ever!! Only batsman to invent a stroke for the cricketing world after Englishmen. And thr are 2 bowlers who did it...thats Murali and Mendis - Doosra and Carom Ball ! Sri Lankans keep bringing changes to this beautiful game just as Sanath n Kalu brought the powerplay hitting style in 1st 15 overs....!

  • Dilhan on January 23, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    the defense of the day must be added :D gave me a heartattack!!

  • Chirath on January 23, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    I honestly thought we had lost it after Thirimanne got out. There would have been a couple TV sets smashed had we not got over the line last night haha

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Please, Firdose, let's not follow the sub-continent craze of naming shots after oneself, especially not for a player like AB who can play all the shots and more. Well done to Sri Lanka for two great run chases to end the series. It's been entertaining and there have been some real finds for them on this tour notably Chandimal.

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    he he he ! that is not the DILSCOOP!. DILSCOOP goes over the head of the keeper! hihihihihi

  • Anjana on January 23, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    I had utmost respect to AB as a gentleman before this match. It was quite obvious to everybody that Perera got out to a waist high (in fact chest high) pull toss from Duminy which should have been called a no-ball easily. Perera was clearly on his crease and replays confirmed that ball was above waist. However, umpires denied that. Although batsman and dressing room was unhappy about that, South Africans went on for celebrations. AB should have call the batsman back and show his spirit, which he didn't!

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