Sri Lanka v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Hambantota July 12, 2014

De Kock, De Villiers fashion historic win


South Africa 339 for 5 (De Kock 128, De Villiers 108, Herath 2-48) beat Sri Lanka 257 (Mathews 58, McLaren 3-37) by 82 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Grinding hundreds like Hashim Amla's in the first ODI and glorious ones like AB de Villiers' in Hambantota. Quickfire starts like Tillakaratne Dilshan's fifty off 40 balls in Pallekele and Sri Lanka's 99 off the first ten overs in the finale. Dramatic collapses - Sri Lanka recorded 5 for 13 in Colombo and 5 for 11 in the second ODI, South Africa contributed 5 for 26 in the same game - this series seemed to have it all. Except a run-out. So it was only fitting that when one came, it proved decisive in a contest which saw South Africa make history by winning a first-ever fifty-over rubber in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka had polished off almost a third of the target in the powerplay with Kusal Perera pouncing on anything too full, too short or too much on his pads. When he fell on his sword, Dilshan and a belligerent Kumar Sangakkara took over and continued to knock South Africa's plans out of shape. With the wind causing havoc and the runs coming easily, Sri Lanka didn't need to do anything too risky. But then South Africa introduced the man they hoped would be their trump card, Imran Tahir.

Dilshan hit his first legitimate ball to de Villiers at short midwicket and unthinkingly charged to the other side of the pitch. Sangakkara initially moved forward but then turned back. What could have been a tightly scampered single became a two-horse race to the non-strikers' end. De Villiers didn't need to pull off anything acrobatic, de Kock could afford to fumble and yet Dilshan lost his battle. His fury with Sangakkara would only have got worse over the minutes that followed.

At the end of the next over, Sangakkara was snaffled down the leg side in almost a carbon copy of the way he was dismissed by Morne Morkel on Wednesday. The past continued to hound Sri Lanka when Mahela Jayawardene fell to Tahir for the third time in the series, this time off a top-edged sweep.

Sri Lanka lost three wickets for six runs in the space of 14 balls and with it the chance to pull off the highest chase in the country.

The hosts' middle-order managed to keep the fight alive until the 45th over. Ashan Priyanjan withstood South Africa's seamers peppering him with short balls and put on 83 for the sixth-wicket with Angelo Mathews. The Sri Lankan captain's form continued but when he was dismissed - caught by Morkel at short fine leg to make Ryan McLaren the series' highest wicket-taker - Sri Lanka folded. McLaren was South Africa's most successful bowler but Tahir's control and crucial wicket was what turned a match South Africa would have thought they had by the scruff of the neck at the innings break.

Twin tons from Quinton de Kock and de Villiers took South Africa to their largest score against Sri Lanka. They smothered a spin threat that had grown with the inclusion of Rangana Herath. Although Herath was Sri Lanka's best bowler he had little back-up from anyone else, particularly Lasith Malinga who was off colour for the second time in the series.

De Kock displayed immense progress from South Africa's tour to Sri Lanka last year when he was strangled by the turning ball. His century was his fourth in six innings, fifth overall in an ODI career which is only18 months old and the highest by a South African in an ODI against Sri Lanka. It also maintained his 100% conversion rate of half-centuries into three figures. His only lapse was a mis-hit into the covers, when on 38, and Priyanjan dived to his left but could not hold on.

With Hashim Amla at his side for the opening exchanges and de Villiers to guide him at the end, de Kock also learned how to pace his innings. He featured in a solid opening stand of 118 and resolutely survived the Sri Lankan stranglehold. Mathews' men did not concede a boundary between the 21st and 31st overs, a period in which de Villiers made sure de Kock stayed focused as their union blossomed to 116.

On a flat pitch, De Villiers reprised his usual rapid pace and heralded the late-overs assault with a slog-sweep off Mendis. Malinga's wayward lines were dealt with as de Villiers took complete control of the innings when de Kock was dismissed. Duminy was a silent partner and the pair put on 80 runs in eight overs. Even though Mendis dismissed them both in successive balls, South Africa had scored 187 runs in the last 20 overs of their innings; 95 of which came in the last ten, and put themselves in a position of advantage early on.

Their sole concern will be the struggles of Jacques Kallis. He scored just four to take his series tally to five and keep the questions about his place in the XI swirling.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    I'm sorry to say, but this sri lanka team will not make it in Australia. With a tail starting after sangakarra they then must hope dilshan and sangakarra must score all the runs. Losing the last 5 batters for the amount of runs in this series shows how heavily sri lanka is counting on sangakarra & dilshan to deliver. If they fail then it is curtains for them.

    Maybe SA don't make it but i'll put sa ahead of sri lanka any day. More balanced team and spin in Australia are not as dominant as in the sub continent. Sri lanka's seam attack is toothless. they are going to chase 300 most of the time.

  • yuvraj on July 14, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    Well done proteas. SL is the place, where we havent won a series. Specially with the type of form they are in, we are quite happy to win a series in their home ground. Once again AB proves us on why he is the best finisher in the world. De kock is an exciting young talent. We are slowly building a nice team for next years world cup. Regarding Kallis(Real god of cricket) we need to be patient with him. He hasn't played many ODIs since Jan 2012. So let him play more ODIs he will surely deliver.

  • karthik on July 14, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    One series lost does not mean SL has gone down. Still the current SL, a better side than most of the sides including india. But SL can't be a good side after WC, as I am not seeing any young SL player proven to be a match winner. Mean while India, NZ sides have match winners as young and inexperienced who will be a dominant force for the next decade. 2015 WC would be between SL and Aus. SA fans known their players would win all the bilateral series and choke in all important knock out games. So no point SA fans can sit and smile based on this performance.

  • Vicky on July 14, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    SL board should learn lesson from Indian Board how to groom young cricket player and replace them phase wise for future.Unfotunately SL won Test series and ODI series because of Flat track.In swinging condition SL batsmen always struggle to stand.SL team scored hefty run in Bangladesh and adjusted their batting average.This shows how SL players are Flat Track bullies.Congratulation SA team for won ODI series and also wish to cleansweep in Test series in Future.Best wishes from India.

  • Anver on July 14, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    3 consecutive failures for Kallis puts his position in jeopardy for WC 2015....... a big decision for SA selectors before the WC 2015 !!!!

  • Sheethal on July 14, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    @ Sinhaya The Final in 1996 which Sl won was affected by dew as well...Warne, Mcgrath & the even the great Imran Khan said the same thing about the dew...Aus would've won the final if not for due.....So, iff's & butt's are not going to win the match!!! According to most of the pundits, players, media that all the 3 he test pitches prepared so far are pretty FLAT this summer!!! So, don't tell me that Sl won Test series on GREEN tops as it was quite evident from the pitches that were pretty much like SC!!!

  • VIJAY on July 14, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    @Sinhaya...i got bored hearing the excuses..rain spoiled the chances, there was dew factor, high wind made the lose of good batsmen, we lost the toss so match, there was sun, bad light, no air etc....the same type of excuse i heard when England won in T20 WC by chasing huge total....not having time to speak all these (typing from office)...plz publish

  • VIJAY on July 14, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    @Sinhaya...there are few more examples...INDIA is the BEST chasing side in ODI...only team to chase more than 350 runs thrice (twice against Australia within a span of one week)...people may argue that it was flattest track...but any person having cricketing knowledge knows that chasing 350 on flattest track require some batting skills...we also chased down 330 runs against one of the good bowling sides (Pak) in Asia cup 2012...outside subcontinent also we have chased down a total of 320 runs within 35 overs against SL (better bowling unit)...malinga, the BEST bowler of SL conceded 96 runs in just 7.2 overs in fast friendly pitch...we did all these chases within 2 years (for this reason, any team thinks twice to bat first against India)...whereas SL's highest chase is against tests also India's highest chase is 387, way ahead than SL...

  • Anver on July 14, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Congrats !!! centuries from both DE's does the job for SA in the decider !!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2014, 4:35 GMT

    The question that come to my mind, is will the Sri Lanka selectors think wisely or continue in their reactive thinking? Many people in these columns said to include Thisara and Chandimal instead of Priyanjan and Lahiru. Neither Priyanjan who of course is new and seasoned Lahiru contributed. In fact Lahiru who pocketed a pair including a golden duck in Leeds continues to play while Dinesh who did very well both with bat and ball in Leeds and the ODI match with SA prior to the series continues to languish in dressing room. Lanka lost not because we have no capability but due to the faulty selections by selectors who should take the total blame for this situation. Do hope that saner council will prevail and the right team is selected for test with Dinesh in and Lahiru out. Lahiru needs to get his mindset sorted out before international playing.

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