Sri Lanka vs South Africa 5th ODI: Sri Lanka record 4-1 win with dominant all-round performance

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Sri Lanka recorded a 4-1 series win over South Africa behind Dilshan’s 99

Sri Lanka ended their five-match ODI series against South Africa in the most dominant fashion possible, registering a 128-run win over the Proteas thanks to a firework show from Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara.

With Sri Lanka already holding on to an unassailable 3-1 lead coming into the final match, they rested some of their senior players and decided to allow some of the youngsters to gain some valuable experience playing at the international level.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat first, despite it having rained just prior to the start of the match.

The Sri Lankans got off to a horrid start as opening batsman Kusal Perera was dismissed for just nine runs by South African pace bowler Morne Morkel.

However, from then on it was all Sri Lanka as Dilshan and Thirimanne hammered the Proteas’ bowling attack all over the place.

Dilshan and Thirimanne put together a huge partnership of 163 runs, during which both batsmen recorded their own half-centuries.

Just as it looked like Sri Lanka were cruising to a massive total, Thirimanne was caught out for 68 off 93 balls, which included six boundaries and one six, off the bowling of Aaron Phangiso.

Sangakkara, who is known for strokes right out of the coaching manual, joined Dilshan at the crease, but went on a rampage instead of his usual calm play as he absolutely clobbered everything to the boundary.

Sangakkara’s hitting had put Sri Lanka back on track for a immense score once again, but then tragedy struck for the Lankan Lions as Dilshan was cleaned bowled on 99 by South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren.

Dilshan’s 99 had come 110 deliveries, which included 13 boundaries.

Meanwhile, all of the South African bowlers looked to be shell-shocked as Sangakkara continued to chance his arm at every delivery they bowled at him.

Sangakkara’s slog-fest took Sri Lanka to an outstanding score of 307 after their 50 overs.

Sangakkara finished unbeaten on 75 off 45 balls, which included 12 boundaries.

Morkel, Phangiso, McLaren and Lonwabo Tsotsobe all took one wicket apiece as they tried their best to restrict the amount of damage Sri Lanka inflicted.

Chasing a mammoth total of 308 to win, South Africa found themselves in trouble early as their entire top and middle order, with the exception of captain AB de Villiers, were back in the pavilion with only 85 runs on the board.

De Villiers tried his level best to bring South Africa back into the game, but after registering his own half-century, he was dismissed by Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis.

After de Villiers’ dismissal, South Africa had no chance of chasing down the huge total in front of them and ended up being bowled out for just 179 with more than six overs to spare.

Mendis and Suranga Lakmal were the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers, taking three wickets apiece, while Sachithra Senanayake picked up two and Dilshan and Thisara Perera both chipped in with a wicket each.

De Villiers was disappointed at having lost the final game in the series, but admitted that playing in Sri Lanka had been a learning experience he and his team would never forget.

“Looked like we played cricket out of our league, unfortunately couldn’t get some momentum going,” he said. “We’ll keep learning. It’s amazing when you start to lose all these negatives kick up and you start to overanalyse things. It was a great experience, played some quality spin and against a subcontinent team that really know their conditions very well.”

Mathews was ecstatic with the win and praised his team for their excellent performance throughout the series.

“Couldn’t have asked for any better, I thought Dilshan and Thirimanne batted brilliantly, unfortunately Dilshan couldn’t get to his century,” he said. “We have got a good blend of seniors and juniors, pretty happy with the way they performed. On behalf of the national team, I’d like to thank the fans for their support.”

Dilshan was declared the Man of the Match for his brilliant innings of 99.

“I think McLaren bowled that over really well,” he said. “Little bit disappointed but these kind of things happen. I’m really enjoying, when I get a start I want to make a big one. Really good series for me, bowled well, batted well, fielded well.”

Sangakkara was named the Man of the Series for scoring 372 runs in the five-match series, which included one century and two half-centuries, at an eye-popping average of 93.

“We had thir batting at 3, he and Dilshan gave us the platform, it was my job to push the scoring,” he said. “I haven’t changed my game a lot, I try to play situations well, I try to target bowlers, when you play in Sri Lanka you need totals above 260. My first series was a triangular against SA, they are the best side in Test cricket, they’ve always done well against us. I’ve enjoyed watching guys like AB and Hash.”

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