Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Pallekele July 9, 2014

All-round Dilshan overpowers South Africa

106

Sri Lanka 267 (Dilshan 86, McLaren 4-48) beat South Africa 180 (Amla 101, Malinga 4-24) by 87 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Thirteen is thought to be the number of misfortune. For Hashim Amla and South Africa, it was the opposite until today.

On the 13 occasions before this one when Amla has scored an ODI century, South Africa have emerged victorious. He recorded his 14th century - becoming the quickest to the mark - in Pallekele but the result was not in his team's favour.

Tillakaratne Dilshan's enterprise in the first ten overs and wickets in the middle and latter portions of the South African chase bookended a the Sri Lankan comeback and ensured the three-match series will go to a decider on Saturday. Dilshan raced to a half-century in 40 balls to set Sri Lanka up for a competitive total and then ended South Africa's biggest partnership - 75 between Amla and AB de Villiers - to clear Sri Lanka's path to victory.

South Africa were 101 for 2 in the 20th over when Dilshan lured de Villiers forward with a flighted delivery but the South African captain could not clear long-on. He was comfortably caught by the substitute fielder Thisara Perera well inside the field to spark a mini-collapse. South Africa lost five wickets for 26 runs with Dilshan claiming three of those and the gash was too big for even Amla, who scored his second successive ODI century, his third in four matches and his third on this tour so far, to mend.

The visitors' shortcomings were further highlighted by a much improved Lasith Malinga, who took wickets at the top and tail of the South African innings, and the loss Dale Steyn. The pace spearhead had bowled 2.2 overs when he was struck on the right thumb after Dilshan drilled the ball back at him. Steyn was taken for an x-ray which revealed severe bruising. Though there wasn't a fracture, he will need to be monitored over the next few days to determine his availability for the rest of the tour.

What will hearten South Africa is that Steyn batted for 35 minutes. He appeared in discomfort at times but scored 23 runs and starred in a 53-run stand with Amla that almost gave South Africa the unlikeliest of resurgences.

Steyn batted with a resolve that was absent in some of his team-mates, most worryingly Jacques Kallis. After Quinton de Kock was bowled by Malinga from around the wicket, it was up to Kallis to build a foundation in the chase but he lasted only seven balls before being bounced out by the same bowler.

Despite Steyn's injury, Kallis did not bowl either, which has left his contribution in the series to just one run in two matches and he has been thoroughly outplayed by his competitor in the all-rounders department, Ryan McLaren. Although McLaren was dismissed cheaply, overcome by the pressure created by the spinners, he dismissed four batsmen at the death of the Sri Lankan innings, including three in one over, to curb their charge.

Sri Lanka's lower order implosion - five wickets for 11 runs - was sparked by Mathews edging McLaren to the keeper. The Sri Lankan captain had contributed to his team's highest stand of the innings, 71-runs with Mahela Jayawardene which ensured the efforts of Dilshan upfront were not squandered.

Jayawardene had battled through the stranglehold Imran Tahir and JP Duminy created and the trouble he had with legspinner's googly. He eventually fell to a wrong 'un but ushered Mathews through a tricky middle-overs period to help build a competitive total in the same mentoring way as Dilshan had handled his stand with Lahiru Thirimanne.

By the time Thirimanne, who was promoted to No. 4 arrived at the crease, Dilshan already had a half-century, had single-handedly got Sri Lanka's scoring rate above six an over before South Africa began to rein Sri Lanka in. Tahir, Duminy, McLaren and Morne Morkel conceded only 44 runs between the 10th and 19th overs. Thirimanne could only score slowly and eventually succumbed to frustration when he hit Tahir straight to mid-wicket but the 62 runs he put on with Dilshan were crucial to Sri Lanka's chances.

Soft dismissals aside, Sri Lanka batted with a good enough understanding of the surface to ensure they would not have to rue mistakes. Similarly, their lapses in the field which included two dropped catches - Amla on 67 and Miller on 0 - can be overlooked because they did not prove too costly even though Amla moved on to a three-figures. Instead they will focus on the advantage their spinners gave them. Dilshan, Sachitra Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis bowled 24.1 overs between them and their six wickets cost only 102 runs. The Sri Lankan performance was not perfect but it did not have to be.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NamalJaya on July 11, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    @Ayesh Buddima: Don't worry, 29 yr old Tharanga will never ever play for SL in the National Team!

    Strangely the man labelled as a stumbling block & condemned as a chaser of swinging ball around off, happens to be the Best SL Batsmen with an Av 34.5 in Eng/NZ/Aus/WI/SA... SL record holder for Consistency, being the Fastest to score first 1000 runs, 2nd best batting CONSISTENCY, being the 2nd fastest to top 5000 runs! Also a world record holder for building the highest number of 7x 200+ partnerships! 5252 runs- Av 34 -S/R 73.66.

    He has also recorded 13 big centuries, 28 Fifty pluses & 11 man-of-the-match titles playing around the world with a SL highest individual score of unbeaten 174* vs WI @ bouncy Kingston! His Current batting form:Leading in Recent Super 4's Twenty20 Tournament stats, scoring 157 Runs from just 3 innings S/R of 155.44 with 2 x 50s Av 52.3!

    I hope all of you who try to ruin an asset, will remember these facts before making false statements without any stats/proof

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    @Suranga If you think Dilshan has scored many centuries and has a better average than Mahela because of Dilshan is a oppening batsman. Ok will check Mahela with other batsman who are batting at same possition, Mahela has scored 16 centuries from 419 matches at the average of 32. AB deviliars batting at same place has scored 16 centuries just from 161 matches at the average of 49.So think when the ABD played same amount of matches to Mahela , how many centuries will have scored???may be around 50 Centuries. So why is this big difference? That's why mahela is said HIGHLY overated batsman than his actuall stats.

  • dummy4fb on July 10, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    @Romesh Perera, Yes Dilshan has scored more ODI hundreds than Mahela & Sanga, You know why he is always opening the inning where as Sanga and Mahela Always bats at different positions.. IF Dilshan playing in NO 4 or NO 5 do you think that he will score well like Mahela ?? Also please check Mahela's ODI record as a opening batsmen. 4 hundreds and 7 50's in 32 matches.....?

  • android_user on July 10, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    u guys should also remember about sl tour in aus which kusal started to reserve a place in sl squad he played really well there so remember again about that

  • android_user on July 10, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    I don't know why some of the guys need to replace mahela & kusal can u guys name a better big game player than mahela? if u says kusal should be replaced with tharanga I would like to remember you he was the biggest burden of sl team few years ago his offstump awareness & slow strike rate cost us many matches even sanga took sometime to settle down as a good batsmen so we should give more chancea to kusal to settle anyway as I think what sri lanka missing is a good finisher so we should replace priyanjan with thisara or kithruwan also kule's bowling is not effective now he performs once in a blue moon so we should replace him with lakmal

  • Lion_96 on July 10, 2014, 16:49 GMT

    @ Codandchips, I see your point mate. I am actually FOR sending the younger batsmen in. But I think, that would work if Jayawardene was in form (which isnt at the moment). However, in the long run, Sri Lanka needs to keep Thirimanne in the top 4 atleast, because he needs time to settle in before he gets going. And once he starts, hes pretty good to watch and we cant keep relying on the big three all the time. And thats actually one of the reasons for our success this year, as our younger players have actually stepped up and performed.

  • Andrew-Silva on July 10, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    @cricfan100 : Look at SA opener Amla & try to understand the necessity of a solid opener, who can play a long inning in any condition! Unlike T20, building a substantial total in 50 Overs based on this factor. We all repeatedly saw how comical Kusal could be in conditions other than a flat-deck coupled with a surrounding conducive to zero movement/bounce! A guy without having any technique to handle spin/pace/swing or bounce naturally becomes a walking wicket! He proved it by failing to survive beyond 18 balls in 8 consecutive ODIs in ENG/WI/Ire, Av 6.9 & an Av 18.8 from 24 ODIs without Bang!

    Tharanga had scored 1687 Runs (51 Odis with 2 N/O) in Eng/Aus/SA/WI/NZ at an Ave of 34. By the way, this is the BEST EVER overall batting Average Recorded by a SL player in those 5 countries to date.! This answers your funny allegation about his ability to handle swing/bounce. Make-shift OPENER was slotted to do the job & ended-up as an eternal failure, leaving poor Sanga to carry the burden.!

  • fazald on July 10, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Like England South Africa too don't seem to have recovered from thir defeat at the hands of the aussies four months ago in South Africa. They also lost their captain Graeme Smith after the 2-1 defeat. Their batsmen barring Amla and Di Villiers have let them down and their bowlers in Steyn, Morkell and Phillander don't look as dangerous as they were an year ago. Since Kallis decided to call it quits they haven't performed very well. Though he has made a comeback for the ODI's against Sri Lanka he looks a shadow of his former self and nearing the end of his cricketing career altogether. Flaf du Plesis who made a tremendous impact in his debut against Australia only 2 years ago seems to have lost his spot in the team. I wonder what's happened to South African cricket in recent times and their fighting spirit? I also noticed during the recent home series against the ausies the spectator numbers had dwindled drastically. It would be sad to see South African cricket end up like the Windies

  • android_user on July 10, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    Despite the win I feel the Sri Lankan team composition needs a drastic change. There is no room for both Thirimanna and Mahela in the middle order since both take long time to settle in. Due to the experience Mahela is hard to ignore. If Thirimanna is looking to find form he should do it at domestic level. Instead he should be replaced by a left handed strike maker like Kithruwan or may Jeevan Media should be given a go at International level. The inclusion of Thirimanna is only dragging back a already feeble middle order.

  • Prem2248 on July 10, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    To bat like Amla you should have lightening reflex with vast array of controlled strokes. To pick such batters you need, kind of selectors they have in England & India. For ODIs&Tests the most ideal Team that we have is; BATTERs:NDickwella(Sc'boy Cricketer of the Y 2012 & the highest run getter of the last Domestic LO t'ment),KausalS,Chandimal,Mathews,AngeloP (Sc'boy Batsman of the Y 2009) ,RoshenS(most consistent batter since 2007, Top run getter of the Domestic LO t'ment of B'desh);BOWLERS: MalindaPushpakumara(most OS left-arm leggie since 07),TharinduKhausal (a Star of Youth WC 2012 leading Wkt taker in Domestic Cricket)or Sachthra,Ajantha, Malinga, Eranga or Lakmal. Other BATTINGOPTIONS:KusalJ, Bhanuka,ShehanJ,KusalMendis,SadeeraS,PWaduge,AshenS,GMneshan, PWickremasinghe,LAbeyrathna,ShehanF, , …& other qualtyALLROUNDERS like Umesh Karunarathna(Sc'boy Cricketer of the Y 2008) , PriyamalPerera&AnukFernando (Y WC 2014)