Sri Lanka vs South Africa 3rd ODI: De Kock and de Villiers lead South Africa to first ODI series win in Sri Lanka

De Kock celebrates after scoring his fifth ODI century

De Kock celebrates after scoring his fifth ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa opener Quinton de Kock and captain AB de Villiers both hammered spectacular centuries to not only lead their side to an 82-run victory over Sri Lanka in Hambantota, but also to hand the Proteas their first ODI series win in the subcontinent nation.

However, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews deserves a lot of credit for his brilliant half-century.

De Villiers would have been delighted with his decision to bat first after de Kock and Hashim Amla amassed a 118-run partnership, during which de Kock brought up his half-century, before Amla was caught by Sachithra Senanayake at long-off off the bowling of Rangana Herath for 48.

Jacques Kallis failed with the bat once again as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Herath for four runs.

Kallis decided to review the decision, but, even though the DRS system was not working properly, the third umpire upheld the original decision.

De Kock and de Villiers stabilised the innings with a 116-run partnership, during which de Kock registered his fifth ODI century and de Villiers his half-century, before de Kock was caught by Ajantha Mendis at long-off off the bowling of Senanayake.

De Kock’s outstanding knock of 128 came off 127 balls and included 12 boundaries and three sixes.

De Villiers and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy kept the runs flowing with an 80-run partnership, during which de Villiers brought up his 17th ODI century, before he was caught by Ashan Priyanjan at wide long-on off the bowling of Mendis.

De Villiers’ superb knock of 108 came off just 71 balls and included 11 boundaries and four sixes.

De Villiers struck 11 boundaries and four sixes during his sparkling knock of 108

De Villiers struck 11 boundaries and four sixes during his sparkling knock of 108

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Mendis struck again the very next ball when Duminy was caught and bowled for 29.

Thanks to de Kock and de Villiers, South Africa finished on 339/5 at the end of their 50 overs.

Herath and Mendis picked up two wickets apiece, while Senanayake chipped in with one.

Chasing 340 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a solid start as Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan put together a 57-run partnership before Perera was caught by de Villiers at mid-off off the bowling of Wayne Parnell for 37.

Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara built on the good start with a 50-run partnership before Dilshan was run out by de Villiers for 30.

Sangakkara went on to score 36 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Ryan McLaren.

Mahela Jayawardene only made two runs before he was caught by Dale Steyn at fine leg off the bowling of Imran Tahir.

Lahiru Thirimanne managed to make 22 runs before he was clean bowled by Duminy.

Mathews and Priyanjan steadied the innings with an 83-run partnership before Priyanjan was caught behind off the bowling of McLaren for 30.

Mathews ended up scoring 58 off 81 balls, which included five boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Morne Morkel at short fine leg off the bowling of McLaren.

Mathews made a gutsy 58

Mathews made a gutsy 58

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Herath scored one run before he was caught behind off the bowling of Morkel.

Morkel struck again the very next ball when Senanayake was caught by Kallis for 13.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 257 when Lasith Malinga was caught and bowled by Duminy for a duck.

McLaren was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Morkel and Duminy snapped up two wickets apiece and Parnell and Tahir claimed one wicket each.

Mathews was disgusted with his team’s performance, and said: “We don’t deserve to win [after] the way we played today. We were flat on the field, let go of a few catches and didn’t play well. It was a depressing performance. Losing to a foreign team is not the end of the world. I’m happy with my own batting, but it doesn’t mean anything, since we lost.”

De Villiers, who was also named Man of the Match, was ecstatic to have led South Africa to their first ODI series win in Sri Lanka, and said: “Very happy with the boys. It’s our first series win here, so we’ll celebrate tonight. I thought we slipped up a little early but we made it up in the end. Sri Lanka bowled well in that Powerplay, but later on I was seeing the ball really well.

“It’s not a World Cup, but for us it’s a huge step in the right direction. Angelo and his boys have been playing a lot of good cricket. I’m exceptionally proud of the boys, there’s no one or two guys that stand out. I’m just proud of the team.”

Amla was named Player of the Series for scoring 258 runs in three ODIs, which included two consecutive centuries, at an incredible average of 86.

“I’m grateful to get some runs,” he said. “I think this wicket is the flattest wicket I’ve ever played on. We’ll take some confidence from this going forward, but tomorrow the Test preparations start. Everyone came here with the desire to make history. We had the baggage of that last series. AB’s innings today was special to take us to a big total. On this type of wicket we needed a big total to defend.”

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