Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Sri Lanka win brings tournament to life

Sri Lanka 6 for 282 (Mubarak 61, Sangakkara 88) beat South Africa 188 (Boucher 62, Rudolph 53, Bandara 3-31) by 94 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Sri Lanka finally fought their way out of a poor patch with their first win of the VB Series at the Gabba which has thrown the tournament wide open. It may be just their third win in their last 13 one-dayers, but it was a resounding one, crushing South Africa by 94 runs. Kumar Sangakkara and Jehan Mubarak both struck fifties to propel them to 6 for 282, which proved to be an insurmountable total on an excellent pitch.

It was a swift comedown for South Africa after the jubilation of beating Australia, at last, earlier this week. And when the post-mortem comes in the dressing room, the toss will probably be first up for dissection. Graeme Smith chose for his team to endure a long, hot day in the field and then, after falling early for three, he watched his side grind their way towards inevitable defeat on a used pitch. Afterwards he was adamant he did the right thing. "The pitch played well right through," he said. "Our basics let us down."

He can say that again. Basically, South Africa dropped catches, bowled waywardly and then their batsmen were hopelessly outspun by the usual magic from Muttiah Muralitharan and some delightful legspin from Malinga Bandara: each grabbed three wickets. Jacques Rudolph and Mark Boucher both impressed with fifties, but theirs was a cause made hopeless from the outset as Chaminda Vaas started the rot with a controlled spell. He finished with 2 for 21 from eight overs.

South Africa's own attack wasn't helped by being shorn of Nel, Ntini and Kallis and although Shaun Pollock inevitably held his end up - with 1 for 39 from his ten overs - the other bowlers were just too loose. But full marks to Sri Lanka for some stylish strokeplay.

Sangakkara simply sizzled with his 88, while Mubarak dazzled in striking 61 from 67 balls, his highest international score. Sangakkara certainly used the flat surface well, and the pace of the ball, too, as he opened the face of the bat regularly and effectively. As usual, he was able to get himself a decent start but making it count was a bigger test for him, after getting out in the fifties twice in his last three innings.

He was cantering along at nearly a run a ball in sight of his fifth ODI century before his wasteful dismissal at the hands of Pollock, a wicket prompted in part by Marvan Atapattu's stickiness at the other end after Mubarak had fallen.

While they were together, Sangakkara found a willing and able partner in Mubarak. The pair, who put on a well-deserved 108 for the second wicket, came out counterpunching and scored quickly after the early dismissal of Upul Tharanga.

The dashing Mubarak played positively, his graceful hands caressing the ball to the boundary time and again, particularly square of the wicket, although he offered the odd well-timed straight drive, too.

But he was lucky to celebrate his fifty after Johan Botha totally misjudged a chance in the deep off Monde Zondeki and missed the ball completely. As the bowler clasped his hands to his head, Mubarak ran three and brought up his half-century with a sheepish look, rather than the usual bat-waving. Botha made amends for the slip, though, with a quicker one which trapped Mubarak without too much further damage. Still, Mubarak's was a richly deserved score in a smashing, confident display.

Yet pumped up though it was, Sri Lanka's eventual total still wasn't quite as inflated as they would have hoped for until wickets slow-punctured their momentum in the later stages. Zondeki finally got in among the wickets in the first over of a more-controlled second spell - he removed Tillakaratne Dilshan - and, with Botha, he began to apply the squeeze to quieten Sri Lanka a touch. Credit must be given here to South Africa, who finally stepped up their game with some impressive fielding after those early fumbles.

Their reply got off to a wobbly start and they were soon in trouble at 3 for 57. As wickets tumbled they soon fell behind the run-rate and when their Supersub Jacques Rudolph, in superb nick, became South Africa's second run-out victim for 53, the momentum fell right away.

Rudolph, in aggressive mode, strode to his well-constructed fifty with an array of shots - there were crashing cuts, dinky leg glances and some powerful drives. But he soon found himself in some difficulty against Muralitharan, who found immediate rip when he entered in the 18th over. From then on in it was all Sri Lanka and they will now head into their next clash on Sunday with Australia in buoyant mood.

How they were out

Sri Lanka

Upul Tharanga c Boucher b Kruger 16 (1 for 33)
Slashed short, wide one; taken well above keeper's head

Jehan Mubarak lbw b Botha 61 (2 for 145)
Attempted to steer quicker delivery through midwicket; ball pitched in line

Tillakaratne Dilshan c Gibbs b Zondeki 15 (3 for 172)
Spooned to cover

Kumar Sangkkara 88 (4 for 211)
Top-edged short-of-a-length delivery to mid-on

Mahela Jayawardene c Prince b Botha 14 (5 for 244)
Big swing; edged to short third man

Marvan Atapattu (6 for 259)
Suicidal run - relay from Gibbs to Smith

South Africa

Graeme Smith lbw b Vaas 3 (1 for 8)
Walked over stumps and trapped plumb

Boeta Dippenaar b Kulasekara 10 (2 for 30)
Inswinger nipped back through the gate

Herschelle Gibbs run out (Perera/Sangakkara/Kulasekara) 7 (3 for 57)
Horrible mix-up, but good ground fielding

Jacques Rudolph run out (Perera) 53 (4 for 93)
More confusion - Prince turned down second run

Ashwell Prince c Kulasekara b Bandara 29 (5 for 127)
Fell into trap at mid-off, attempting to go over the top

Justin Kemp b Bandara 10 (6 for 152)
Lost offstump trying to hoike to midwicket

Shaun Pollock c Atapattu b Vaas 4 (7 for 179)
Mistimed drive to cover

Andrew Hall b Muralitharan 4 (8 for 184)
Bowled round his legs

Johan Botha lbw b Muralitharan (9 for 188)
Would have hit middle-and-leg

Mark Boucher c Dilshan b Bandara 62 (188 all out)
Lofted to cover