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Plays of the Day from the fifth ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo
Andrew Fidel Fernando in Colombo
July 31, 2013
The merciful end
One run off 22 deliveries constitutes a poor innings in almost any ODI, but in a chase of over 300, it is nearly unforgivable. Farhaan Behardien has had fine moments with the ball in this series, but his final innings in the series was one he'd hope the selectors were not watching closely. Uncomfortable against the pace of Thisara Perera and clueless against Ajantha Mendis, who dismissed Behardien for 2 and 0 in his two other matches in the series, he missed, prodded and left his way into a hole, from which escape grew less likely with every dot ball. Although South Africa were already four down inside 20 overs at the time, it seemed a minor blessing when he fell, attempting to loft Perera through the leg side.
If there is any batsman who is least likely to be nervous in the nineties, it's one who scored three figures in the last match, but as the Premadasa crowd prepared to celebrate what would have been Tillakaratne Dilshan's 18th ton, he hit a wall of doubt and gave his wicket away. Cleverly, Ryan McLaren aimed yorkers at Dilshan on 99, and though the bowler did not always hit the blockhole, a tentative Dilshan could not force a run in four deliveries. The fifth ball tailed into the batsman, who should have been equal to it given his longevity at the crease and his fluency before that over, but a half-hearted drive allowed the ball to slip past and strike middle stump.
Dilshan doesn't hold back when celebrating, whether it's a hundred, a wicket or a fine catch. But his joy took an unprecedented form when he removed JP Duminy in the 11th over, to the amusement of the crowd. Breaking out in a synchronised double windmill with his arms first, Dilshan then moved into a dainty skip around the square, whooping as his team-mates trailed after him. Dilshan is so often a figure of aggression and machismo on the field, but pigtails and a picnic basket might have nicely completed the aesthetic for this jaunt.
With 75 not out off 45 balls, Kumar Sangakkara completed the most profitable bilateral series for any Sri Lanka batsman, and his final stroke epitomised his present form and complete dominance over the South Africa attack. Walking down the pitch even before the delivery left Morne Morkel's hand, Sangakkara received a back of a length delivery outside off stump - Morkel perhaps reasoning that length would prevent Sangakkara from making use of his forward momentum. It was not to be. In an instant, Sangakkara set himself for the pull, and arching his back, launched the ball flat over midwicket for four, bringing noise in the stadium to a crescendo.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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