Sri Lanka overcome AB de Villiers ton to win 5th ODI
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman and South African captain AB de Villiers’ magnificent ton which helped SA post 312/4 wasn’t enough as Tillakaratne Dilshan’s Sri Lanka overhauled it, posting 314/5 in 49.5 overs. The Sri Lankan win in the second dead rubber saw the ODI series end 3-2 in SA’s favour at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Royal Challengers Bangalore opener and Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan found early vindication when Alviro Peterson was dismissed for just 6 in the fourth over. Graeme Smith, refreshed from his half century in the fourth ODI was intent on playing a bigger innings here, scratching around early to stay in the middle.
Faf du Plessis, sent in at no. 3 also was slow in scoring and was dismissed just when he was set, at 24 off 39 in the 18th over of the game with SA on 70/2. AB de Villiers too was slow in the beginning but began to open up around the 25th over after which the runs flowed for SA.
Smith was on 54 off 83 balls at the point but accelerated to reach his 100 off 129 balls while de Villiers brought up his 50 off 48 balls at the other end. Smith cut loose against Sachithra Senanayake, Perera and Malinga before he was dismissed for 125 off 143 balls, SA on 256/3 after 45.1 overs. AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith had added 186 runs for the third wicket off just 168 balls, setting them on course for a 300+ target.
The departure of Smith saw no respite for the Sri Lankans as new man in Albie Morkel too cleared the boundaries with ease. AB de Villiers raced to his first ton as South African captain in just 88 balls, smashing Malinga over midwicket for a six to bring up the milestone off the first ball of the 48th over.
He finished with a bang, smashing Perera for a brace of sixes and ending the innings with a four as SA posted 312/4. de Villiers was unbeaten on 125 off 98 balls with 10 fours and 4 sixes.
Tillkaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga gave Sri Lanka a wonderful start, going after SA’s total at a healthy run rate of 8 before rain stopped play in the 8th over. Play resumed an hour later without any overs being reduced and the target the same.
Tharanga, the aggressor from before the break once again picked up the tempo but was dismissed before he could reach his half century, JP Duminy taking a spectacular catch at cover to send him back for 46, leaving SL at 72/1 after 10 overs.
Dilshan seemed set to repeat his heroics from the fourth ODI and had added 47 runs off 54 balls with Sangakkara for the second wicket before his dismissal off Tsotsobe in the 20th over. Dinesh Chandimal couldn’t stick around long either, his dismissal for 20 off 35 balls in the 30th over saw SL at 175/3, the required run rate above 6.5.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Sangakkara forged the definitive partnership of the Sri Lankan chase, adding 100 runs off 87 balls with the batsmen matching each other stroke for stroke but not overtly attacking as they kept the required rate within reach. Sangakkara brought up his ton off 96 balls but was immediately dismissed, leaving SL at 275/4 in the 45th over.
Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews responded with boundaries in the next over off Morne Morkel, Thirimanne bringing up his half century before Mathews chipped one to short cover to be caught off Wayne Parnell.
Each over changed the standings of the team in the match as tight, wicket taking overs followed ones where batsmen scored easy runs. Thisara Perera went out two overs later leaving SL at 307/6 with 6 required off the last over off Robin Peterson.
Nuwan Kulasekara’s swing and miss saw SL go down to 307/7 after the first ball of the last over. Rangana Herath smartly turned strike over to Thirimanne off the next ball, only to see him charge at a ball and present an easy top edged take for the fielder at short third man, gone for 69 off 63 balls.
Sachithra Senanayake played out the fourth ball for a dot ball, defending it back to the bowler. With 5 required off 2 balls, playing his first innings in his second ODI, Senanayake swung and miraculously connected, sending the ball flying over midwicket as SL grabbed the match by 2 wickets with one ball left.
Sri Lanka were denied a potentially series saving win in the third ODI when rain and Duckworth-Lewis combined to hand the match to SA. They came back strongly to win the two dead rubbers to give the series a scoreline which rightly shows how competitive the teams have been.