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Proteas ride on De Villiers, De Kock tons to clinch series 2-1

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The South Africans registered a moment of history as they beat hosts Sri Lanka by 82 runs in the 3rd ODI in Hambantota to register their first ever ODI series win in the island country.

After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the South Africans posted a massive 339-5 thanks to centuries from AB De Villiers and Quinton De Kock. The visitors then responded swiftly with the ball as they bundled out the Sri Lankans for 257.

Quinton De Kock started well for the Proteas as he took three boundaries off Lasith Malinga in the first over. Hashim Amla got going his end too as he cut Malinga behind square as the South Africans began in some style. The two opening batsmen took their side past the 100-run mark in just the 18th over as the Lankan bowlers looked clueless.

Rangana Herath, though, looked the closest to breaking through for Sri Lanka as he beat the batsmen with plenty of flight, and soon enough accounted for Amla as the Lankans broke the 118-run opening stand. Amla walked back, two runs short of a half century. Jacques Kallis, in at no.3, continued his worrying form as he became Herath’s second victim even after he sought the help of DRS, as he was trapped in front of wicket for 4.

AB De Villiers joined De Kock after the mini-collapse and once again the Sri Lankan bowlers were tested. De Villiers knocked it around initially before launching into Ajantha Mendis, sending the spinner for a six and a four in the 32nd over. De Kock soon brought up his 4th century in six ODIs as the Proteas closed in on the 200-run mark. Herath was brought back, but was put to the sword by De Kock before the batsman was dismissed by Sachitra Senanayake for 128. De Kock, in his quest to up the ante, hit one straight down the throat of long-off, leaving the Proteas on 248-3 with 10 overs remaining.

De Villiers who was well set on 64 then received company from JP Duminy as the Lankans looked to contain the batsmen. The duo took Malinga for plenty, sending him for two sixes before De Villiers sent spinner Mendis over the ropes twice in an over after getting to his ODI century of just 70 deliveries. However, Mendis struck twice in the 49th over, removing the dangerous De Villiers for 108 before taking a return catch of Duminy for 29. South Africa managed 11 runs of the last over as they finished on 339-5. Lasith Malinga was battered as he finished with figures of 10-0-85-0.

Kushal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan got the Sri Lankans off to a good start, adding 57 for the first wicket inside six overs. Perera sent Morne Morkel for six over cover and followed it up with a drive for four down the ground before he took 19 runs off a Steyn over as he raced to 37 off 24 balls.

Wayne Parnell then struck in his first over as he got Perera to mistime a slower ball straight to mid-off. Dilshan who was a mere spectator at the other end got going with the bat in the company of Kumar Sangakkara. The hosts pushed past the 100-run mark when bit of confusion saw Dilshan run-out for 30 as both batsmen got to the same end. Sangakkara followed soon in the next over as he was caught down the legside of Ryan Mclaren for a 23-ball 36.

The Proteas made it three wickets in three overs as Mahela Jayawardene attempted a sweep off Imran Tahir, only to top edge it straight to fine leg as the hosts slumped to 113-4 in only the 14th over. Mathews and Thirimanne added 38 runs for the 5th wicket as they gave their side some solidity. However, JP Duminy knocked over Thirimanne’s off stump for 22, pegging the hosts back further.

Angelo Mathews and Ashan Priyanjan brought their side back in business with a solid stand of 83. Mathews, who began slow but cautious, soon started scoring quickly as the asking rate continued to creep higher and higher. With 107 required from 11 overs, Mclaren had Priyanjan caught behind for 30 runs and followed it up with the big wicket of Mathews for a well made 58 in his very next over as the hosts sat in trouble at 249-7.

Morne Morkel struck twice in the 44th over to kill off Sri Lankan hopes completely. De Kock ran behind to take a skier after Herath top edged one following which Morkel had Senanayake caught on the edge of the circle as the South Africans moved to within a wicket away from their first ODI series win in Sri Lanka.

Duminy sealed things for the Proteas as he removed Malinga, catching him of his own bowling, to bundle out the Sri Lankas for 257 runs.

The South Africans thus sealed an 82-run win as they went on to win the ODI series 2-1, a marked improvement from the 4-1 thrashing they received in 2013. The hosts on the other hand will be determined to bounce back strongly, especially as the action now shifts to the first test match in Galle on July 16th.

Mini Scorecard:

South Africa 339-5 (50 overs, 6.78 rpo)

Q De Kock 128 (127)  R Herath 2-48 (10)

AB De Villiers 108 (101)  A Mendis 2-48 (7)

Sri Lanka, 257 all out (44.3 overs, 5.77 rpo)

A Mathews 58 (81) R Mclaren 3-37 (8)

K Perera 37 (25)  JP Duminy 2-43 (8.3)

South Africa won by 82 runs.