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Wednesday, Dec 01st

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JP Duminy registered his third test century on day 2 of the Galle Test as the South Africans kept the Sri Lankans frustrated on the field for over two sessions as they declared on 455-9, leaving the hosts to negotiate a final hour of play with the bat.

Sri Lanka began the day a bowler short as Shaminda Eranga was declared unfit after splitting the webbing in his bowling hand on day one, for which he received 8 stitches. Suranga Lakmal breached night watchman Dale Steyn’s defence nine overs into the morning. Quinton De Kock looked well settled in the middle and was joined by JP Duminy, who got off the mark with a boundary with a scoop of his knee against spinner Dilruwan Perera.

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Dale Steyn bowled one of the great final overs in the history of T20 International cricket to earn South Africa their first victory of the ICC World Twenty20 by a nail-biting two runs over New Zealand at Chittagong on Monday. When Steyn started his final over, he faced the unenviable task of having only five runs to defend to secure victory, six to allow the game to go to a super over while New Zealand needed seven for victory.

As it turned out, Steyn conceded only four runs, took two wickets and made a run out off the last ball to complete a stunning victory by two runs. The world’s best bowler finished with figures of 4/17 plus the run out which he manufactured himself. He does have better figures of 4/9 against the West Indies in three overs but that effort pales into insignificance in the context of what happened today.

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JP Duminy has had some hugely career defining moments in the nine Test matches he has played against Australia. His cut-drive for three that signed off the 414 runs chase at Perth will live forever in the annals of South African cricket history as will his career-best 166 that set up the series win at Melbourne.

The second day of the second Sunfoil Test match at Axxess St. George’s on Friday provided yet another defining moment. The day’s play started on a knife edge with a fresh Australian attack taking the second new ball with the prospect of bowling South Africa out for under 250. The other side of the coin would see the Proteas continue their fightback and post a total in the region of 350 or 400.

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Hashim Amla became the fourth South African batsman to score 20 Test match centuries as he played almost a lone hand to keep the Castle Lager Proteas in contention on the opening day of the two-match series against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi on Monday.

By the close of play, after Graeme Smith had won the toss, the Proteas had battled their way to 245/8 in their statutory 90 overs. The key fact is that Amla (118 off 250  balls, 13 fours) is still at the crease and it will be up to Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, playing in his 50th Test match, to give South Africa’s batting champion as much support as possible.

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The Chennai Super Kings squeezed out a narrow 12 run win against their fellow IPL team, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, to go top of Group B in the Champions League T20 at the midway stage of the tournament. It was raining sixes at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi as local boy MS Dhoni entertained his home town fans by smashing an unbeaten 63 from just 19 balls to power Chennai to an imposing total of 202-4 in their 20 overs.

The foundation for Chennai's innings had been laid by Suresh Raina, who produced another good innings, ending with 84 from 57 balls before he was brilliantly caught at long on by a leaping Thisara Perera off Dale Steyn. Despite all the carnage, the South Africa duo of Steyn and JP Duminy returned figures of 4-50 between them from 8 overs, while an under bowled Amit Mishra conceded just 13 runs from his 2 overs with rookie skipper Shikhar Dhawan once again missing a trick. Dhoni's explosion came late in the innings as he carted Thisara Perera for 5 sixes in an over which went for 34, which in the end might have determined the outcome of the game.

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In the second of the dead rubbers on Friday night, the Otago Volts routed the Sunrisers Hyderabad to carry some invaluable momentum with them into the Group Stage of the Champions League T20, thus also extending their own unbeaten run to 13 matches to tie Surrey with the second greatest run in T20 history (Sialkot Stallions are at the top with 25 games).

The match itself proved to be a virtual no contest as the Sunrisers Hyderabad crawled to a paltry 143-5 in their 20 overs with skipper Shikhar Dhawan (12) and Parthiv Patel (12) both failing for the first time in the tournament. Nathan McCullum removed both the openers and set Otago on their way to victory very early on in the contest.

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South Africa feel their testing tour of Sri Lanka has been an invaluable experience, and will be beneficial for future tours on the sub-continent. Proteas all-rounder, JP Duminy, achieved the most success in the conditions, and says familiarity and past experiences were extremely useful.

“It’s quite similar to India, Dubai and Bangladesh,” Duminy said. “I have been to these places a few times over the years and had a fair bit of success as well. So it’s probably paying some dividends on this tour, I’m very pleased with the way my own game has gone.”

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