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SA bowlers run riot to make series 4-0

SA v SL, 4th ODI, report

A tame Sri Lankan batting display saw to a comfortable six-wicket win for South Africa, as the Proteas went 4-0 up in the five-match ODI series.

After all their heroics in the longest format, similar application has been lacking for the visitors in the ODI series, and they could only muster 189 in Port Elizabeth, before South Africa eased to victory with 12.1 overs remaining, led in the run chase by a Quinton de Kock half-century.

Sri Lanka’s highest-batting return of the series leading into this match was their 231 in the first ODI, and from the get go, the prospect of eclipsing that score appeared unlikely.

Upul Tharanga (4) and Oshada Fernando (0) departed quickly, before Anrich Nortje had Avishka Fernando (29) caught at short mid-wicket. Priyamal Perera arrived at the crease on debut, only to end his stay after a ball, glancing a ball down the leg-side to de Kock to leave Nortje on a hat-trick.

While Kamindu Mendis survived falling victim immediately to Nortje, he could only make nine before Nortje collected his third wicket of the innings. Sri Lanka seemed down and out of the contest as all the South African bowlers managed to make breakthroughs.

Isuru Udana top-scored for Sri Lanka with 78
Isuru Udana top-scored for Sri Lanka with 78

Matters were made worse when Lasith Malinga was run-out in comical fashion by Reeza Hendricks, showing little urgency in trying to get to the non-strikers end, with failure to ground his bat resulting in a two-ball duck.

Hope and fight would be found from the blade of Isuru Udana. A blazing display of the bat in just his second ODI innings saw Udana strike seven fours and four sixes in a 57-ball innings. At one point, Nortje was treated to three full-blooded maximums in a row.

A thoroughly enjoyable compilation of 78 runs saw Udana finish with the fourth-highest score by a No.9 batsman in ODI cricket, as he helped his side finish on 189 all out.

The reply was guided mainly through the in-form de Kock, whose returns this series now read: 81, 94, 121 and 51. In hitting his lowest-score of the series thus far, de Kock still managed to get to his 20th ODI fifty – hitting six fours along the way.

Aiden Markram’s return to the ODI set-up saw him return 29, while Faf du Plessis chipped in with a useful 43. Du Plesiss’ dismissal with 46 runs left to hit saw JP Duminy join forces with David Miller. Duminy was the aggressor, a 21-ball 31 helping South Africa cruise to another win in what has been a one-sided show over the last couple of weeks.

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