Sri Lanka v South Africa, 4th ODI, Pallekele July 28, 2013

Dilshan, Sangakkara secure series


Sri Lanka 239 for 2 (Dilshan 115*, Sangakkara 91) beat South Africa 238 (Duminy 97, Mendis 4-51)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

An unbeaten century from Tillakaratne Dilshan and 91 from Kumar Sangakkara carried Sri Lanka to a series win over South Africa with one match to play. The pair ensured the hosts achieved the highest successful run chase at Pallekele with six overs to spare to underline some of South Africa's most pressing issues as they attempt to rebuild their one-day side.

At first glance, it would seem the bowlers are to blame but South Africa's middle-order are the real culprits in their defeat. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy shared a second-wicket stand of 101 to set a strong base for the team but the batsmen who followed squandered the advantage.

From 118 for 1, South Africa were 238 all out, losing nine wickets for 120 runs. By contrast, Dilshan and Sangakkara shared a partnership of 184 - Sri Lanka's highest against South Africa - to maintain their strong record at home against South Africa.

South Africa have only won two ODIs in Sri Lanka and their inability to adapt to conditions was exposed again. The absence of quality spinners and senior players to take responsibility in the batting line-up cost them dearly and they will now return to Colombo with only pride to play for.

South Africa began to make some amends for their failings with the bat and Hashim Amla's return was central to that. Amla, who missed the first and third match with injury and could not bat in the second, recovered in time to form one half of South Africa's fourth opening pair in as many matches.

While Quinton de Kock's inexperience was exposed against Lasith Malinga, when he was yorked for 8, Amla had the Sri Lankan attack erring. The seamers continually offered him too much width and he pulled and cut at will.

Amla and JP Duminy, who has looked good without producing results in the series so far, settled in and took the batting powerplay after 15 overs. That proved a tactical mistake. Sri Lanka's slew of spinners limited run-scoring opportunities and only 22 were scored in the five-over period.

The pair succeeded in planting a platform but Amla did not stick around to help the launch from it. He was lbw to Dilshan, who went around the wicket to trap him on the back foot, and even a review could not save him.

AB de Villiers' lean run continued as he was caught behind trying to paddle-sweep. Faf du Plessis also did not contribute, offering a chance to Angelo Mathews in his follow-through and eventually being stumped.

Ajantha Mendis foxed the less-experienced players, who have not learnt to pick him. David Miller was bowled by the legbreak and Farhaan Behardien clipped him straight to short leg.

The fall of wickets forced Duminy to continue a quiet vigil and his strike rate remained in the 60s, until the last four overs, when he finally decided to launch against Malinga. Duminy managed to improvise, turning would-be yorkers into low full-tosses, but Malinga's change of pace accounted for the tail.

Still, South Africa would have thought they had enough with 198 the previous-best successful chase in Pallekele. Their bowlers started well against a changed Sri Lankan top order - with Mahela Jayawardene replacing Upula Tharanga - as Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe extracted extra bounce and got movement, but ill-discipline infected them again. South Africa sent down 17 wides, taking their series total to 58, and indicating an obvious problem with line.

Jayawardene was frustrated by the early squeeze and when he tried to steer Tsotsobe to third man, he was caught by a diving Amla at gully. That was the last success South Africa saw until it was too late. Dilshan showed a willingness to ride out the pressure and looked for singles with Sangakkara instead of going for big shots to thwart the bowlers.

But South Africa still had their chances. Sangakkara was on three when he edged Kleinveldt but Amla could not pull off the half chance, and on 33, when Duminy appealed for an lbw against him. South Africa had a review in hand but de Villiers chose not to use it. Afterwards, he said neither Duminy nor de Kock, who was keeping, were convinced, Replays, though, showed Sangakkara was out.

His flirtation with fortune over, Sangakkara matches Dilshan blow for blow thereafter. Dilshan was strong square of the wicket and on the pull and brought out his trademark scoop off Tsotsobe. His century came off 119 balls with a swivel down to fine leg.

Sangakkara peppered the on-side, with 52 of his runs coming in that area. After Dilshan crossed the century mark, Sangakkara was racing against the remaining runs to get there. He smacked Morkel for two fours to get into the nineties, but fell on his sword when he top-edged to mid-off.

Dilshan finished things off to leave South Africa with plenty to think about. Foremost in their minds will be their poor effort in the field, and their decision-making under pressure, both of which need work before Wednesday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manoj on July 30, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    Congrat SL. Good luck SA for the next game. Thanks SA and Pak fans for acknowledging and non jealousy comments.

  • Sarma on July 30, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    How good are SL's bowlers in the last 2 years ? Herath 61.7 marks Senanayake 60.4 Maharoof 54.7 Kulasekara 53.5 Malinga 49.8 Pradeep 49.1 Ajantha Mendis 48.1 Angelo Mathews 41.7 KTGD Prasad 40.7 Thisara Perera 38.2 Weerakoon 35.4 Prasanna 34.4 Dilhara Fernando 32.5 Suraj Randiv 30.3 Lakmal 30.3 Eranga 27.5 BMAJ Mendis 26.5 LHD Dilhara 25.3 Dilshan 22 Udana 18.1 CKB Kulasekara 10.7 Mubarak 4.6 HDRL Thirimanne 1.3 CK Kapugedera 0.3

  • Manoj on July 30, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Congrat SL.Beating even 2nd string SA team (as called by some) even by 3-2 is way superior than beating full strength Zim team by 5-0.

  • Rukshan on July 29, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Oh stop it with all the excuses of SA being a second string side. This is almost the same team the played in the CT2013 and reached semifinals. No one really said anything about them sending second string side then. Also SAfferes were always ineffective in SL (including Steyn, Kallis and Smith).. Check the historical records.. What diference would that have made?.. They have only won 2 matches out of 14 or something... Credit to the Lankan Lions.. Sanga, mahela and dilshan are only getting better with age.. so dont worry about 2015.. we will groom youngsters into stars by then..

  • Chatty on July 29, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    BTW, did anyone notice that Malinga is getting some sort of a beer belly? Now, that's something to worry about. What are the fitness guys and all the trainers doing? Malinga needs to be in lean, mean shape, if he is to be effective in the medium term.

  • Chatty on July 29, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    I think too much of a fuss is being made about seniors and juniors. The bowling attack, except for Herath, is young, and have quite a few years left. On the batting side, there is a lot of imbalance, sure. But we said the same thing in the past - what will happen when Arjuna, Aravinda, and Gura retire? Nothing much happened. There were others who took over. Do we miss Jayasooriya any more? Do we even miss Murali (the greatest ever) in limited overs cricket? No. So, let's not go over board with this idea of seniors retiring. There are greater reasons to worry about test cricket, but not one day or T20, in my view.

  • Prashan on July 29, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Fact is clear here that SA bowlers are lethal against the red ball but not so against the white. Same applies to Anderson and England where SL managed to beat them by 7 wickets in the CT game this year chasing nearly 300 but similar heroics would have been tough with the red ball. This same logic could apply to the Aussies too.

    I think NZ has the best pace bowling attack for both tests and ODIs when balanced but their brittle batting will mean that will not be enough.

  • Prashan on July 29, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    When I analyze SA over the recent years, in test matches their away record is far better than their home record. Last time they lost an away test series was this time back in 2006 when Sanga and Mahela posted the 624 run partnership. SA has their worse away test record in recent memory too in Sri Lanka where since 2000 till today, 7 tests were played and SL won 4 and SA won 1 with 2 drawn. Kallis's test average against Sri Lanka comes to 40 all because of the double ton against us in Cape Town last year as before that, in 15 tests his test batting average against us was 33.

    SA from 2006 August till today, in away tests they have lost 1 in India in Kolkata in 2010, 1 in Australia in Sydney in 2009, 1 in England in 2008. From August 2006 till today, in home tests, they lost to India twice i 2007 and 2011, once to SL in 2011, thrice to Australia, once to Pak in 2007, once to WI in 2007, once to England in 2009.

  • SURIA on July 29, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Tough luck SA! You had many young players so it was your second string side, but Sri Lanka had their first team out there. SA have performed well, but surprised they haven't won series as it was expected!!!