Skipper Angelo Mathews struck a run a ball unbeaten 97 and Akila Dananjaya claimed 6 wickets for 29 in leading Sri Lanka to a pride salvaging facile 178-run triumph over South Africa in the fifth and final day-night international on Sunday at the R. Premadasa Stadium. Dananjaya wrought havoc sending down 9 overs in bundling out the opposition for 121 in just 24.4 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 299 for 8 wickets from 50 overs.
It was a fitting coming from behind triumph for the hosts having trailed 0-3 to winning the last two matches in a 2-3 series loss. Suranga Lakmal starting the rot by clean bowling Hashim Amla in his fourth ball for a duck. From that point off spinner Akila Dananjaya made inroads sending back A.K. Markram for 20, R.R. Hendricks for a duck and H. Klaasen for 3 with South Africa reeling on 4 for 39 in 7.5 overs. The slide continued to 5 for 85, 6 for 92 and 7 for 94 in 18 overs with Dananjaya coming back in his second spell to bowl Quinton de Kock for 54, A.L. Phehlukwayo caught behind by Dickwella for 3 and K.A. Maharaj caught by Lakmal to cap his sixth wicket with the visitors on 9 for 115 off 23.5 overs. Dananjaya finished with career best figures of 6 for 29 to be adjudged Man of the Match which he described was his most memorable feat in ODI cricket.
The 31-year old Mathews played a typical captain’s knock in leading from the front in a forceful comeback from injury plagues that had sidelined him from time to time by displaying the nimble flair of crisp strokeplay that saw his stocks soar some years ago as a forceful hard hitting batsman. He struck 11 boundaries and a six in taking Sri Lanka to 299 for 8 wickets from 50 overs. Having come in with the total on 114 for 3, Mathews figured in three productive partnerships of 53 for the fifth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva who made 30 and 57 for the sixth wicket with Thisara Perera who scored 13 and 44 for the seventh wicket with Dasun Shanaka who made 21. He was unfortunate to miss out on his third ODI century.
Sri Lanka sped to 32 for no loss in six overs with Niroshan Dickwellaon 16 off 29 and Upul Tharanga on 7 off 8 with the new ball attack of Kagiso Rabada and Junior Dala taking some stick with Dickwella taking 2 boundaries and Tharanga 1. After 7 overs it was 38 for no loss with Dickwella breezing to 21 off 33 and Tharanga playing a subdued3 overs. role on 8 before soon square cutting Mulder for 4 to move to 12 on to smote Mulder’s fifth delivery for 3 and Sri lanka was sitting pretty on 45 without loss after 8 overs; Dickwella was on 21 off 34 and Tharanga on 15 off 16. The Lankan 50 came in 8.2 overs with a boundary by Tharanga off Dala, but was out the very next ball caught behind by Quinton de Kock for 19 off 18 inclusive of 3 boundaries and it was 50 for 1 off 8.3 overs. The advent of Kusal Janith Perera in the pivotal No.3 slot nearly ended in calamity as a heave off Willem Mulder fell just short of the fielder at extra cover. But Perera made no mistake two deliveries later smacking Mulder to the fence to open his account and Sri Lanka was 60 for 1 off 9.3. But Kusal Janith Perera’s early aggression was to call his downfall as a hard square cut off Mulder ended in the hands of the fielder at mid-off Klaasen who held on to a sharp chance with the total on 64 after the 10th over. He lasted 7 balls. Kusal Mendis joined Dickwella and the pair took the with Dickwella smacking a boundary off Mulder to the fence to reach 31 off 45 spiced with 4 boundaries and the total read total to 71 for 2 after 12 overs. It was an ominous launching pad for the hosts to go for a big total with eight wickets intact on a wicket that was playing easy. Mendis, after a slow start, moved to 8 with an off drive for four off Andile Phehlukwayo to take the total to 82 after 15 overs. Dickwella was on 34 off 52. Next over Mendis struck Mulder for four off a no ball and followed suit in the fifth ball of the over on-driving to the fence for his third boundary reaching 17 off 18 taking the total to 94 for 2 after 16. Soon after Dickwella too joined in the boundary act hitting Phehlukwayo for his fifth four to move to 41 off 57 and bringing up the Sri Lankan 100 off 101 balls in 16.2 overs. It prompted a bowling change with Keshav Maharaj, who replaced David Miller for this game, brought on by stand in captain de Kock now desperate for a breakthrough. After a subdued Maharaj over that fetched two runs, Mendis whacked Phehlukwayo for successive boundaries and a quick single to maintain the run momentum moving on to 29 off 26 with 5 boundaries. But in the next ball South Africa got the breakthrough when Phehlukwayo had Dickwella caught by wicket-keeper de Kock for 43. The third wicket partnership was worth exactly 50 runs off 51 balls. His innings came in 65 balls with 5 boundaries; Sri Lanka 114 for 3 after 19.5 overs. Mendis was on 30 off 31. The Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews was quickly off the mark with a first ball single and one over later proceeded to hit a boundary off the final delivery by Phehlukwayo as Sri Lanka reached 120 for 3 off 21. By now Mendis had eased into flowing rhythm with his running between the wickets sprightly for the quick singles palming the strike to Mathews who smote Rabada in his second spell for four followed by a single and another to Mendis to make it 132 for 3 after 22.; Mendis on 36 off 37 and Mathews on 11 off 13 having struck his second boundary. After another Maharaj over that cost 2, Mathews brought the flourish with 2 and a straight driven 4 off Rabada as Sri Lanka reached the 25 over mark on 142 for 4. But the visitors hit back two ball later when Maharaj had Mendis caught behind drawn out by the flight playing forward and edging to de Kock for 38 with no addition to the total. Mendis’ knock came off 43 inclusive of 6 boundaries.
The fourth wicket partnership was worth 23 with Mathews on 19 joined by Dhananjaya de Silva who opened up with an off drive for 3 off Dala and moved to 5 by the end of the 28th over with the total 152 for 4. Mathews reached 31 off 40 with 4 boundaries with the total 165 for 4 after 31 overs with de Silva on 9 off 16. Dhananjaya de Silva struck his first boundary off Paul Duminy and a single to reach 17 off 22 and the total 174 for 4 after 33: Mathews on 32 off 45 with 4 boundaries. De Silva got into fettle striking his first boundary straight driving Maharaj for 4 and one ball later a 6 to get to 28 off 38 and the total 191 for 4 after 35; Mathews on 39 off 50 with 5 boundaries. The 50 partnership came four balls later in 59 ba with the skipper inching to 40. South Africa clawed back with Mulder having de Silva caught in the deep for30; 195/5 off 37.4 the partnership realizing 53. Thisara Perera with a single brought up the Lankan 200 in the first ball of the 39th over. Mathews reached 50 with a single off 66 with 6 boundaries; 206 for 5 in 40 and the hosts well positioned with the power play on taken in style with a hooked 6 by the Lankan captain off Duminy’s fourth delivery, the total 217 for 5 after 41. After Perera took a single off Mulder, Mathews hit a repeat boundary to move to 63 off 71 and the total 227 in 42. He was in his element by now smacking Phehlukwayo on the off the ball racing to the boundary followed by a single to move to 70 and crossing over to reeling another boundary to reach 74 off 78 (9×4, 1×6), 237 for 5 after 43. The 50 partnership came off 43 balls, but soon after Perera holed out to Hashim Amla off Phehlukwayo and it was 247 for 6 after 44 with Mathews on 78. He accelerated with a boundary off Phehlukwayo reaching 84 after a subdued Rabada over and followed with a single as he and new man in Dasun Shanaka exchanged ends with a single each culminating with Shanaka clobbering the last delivery to the fence; after 47 overs Mathews was on 86 off 89 (10×4, 1×6), Shanaka 11 off 7 (2×4). After Mathews’ took a single Shanaka smashed Rabada to the leg for 6 followed by 4 byes and a single each; 281 for 6 after 48 overs; Mathews 89, Shanaka 18. Mathews smote a much needed boundary off Dala to move to 93 off 94 (11×4, 1×6) and after 49 it was 291 for 6; Shanaka 21 off 14 (2×4, 1×6). Mathews crossed over for a single first ball of the final over by Rabada before Shanaka exited making it 292 for 7 in 49.3, the seventh wicket alliance realizing 47. The crowd was on their feet with Mathews on 96 facing the final delivery after Akila Dananjaya crossed over having faced 2 deliveries. He slogged it to leg but the boundary was cut short a few yards from the ropes by Mulder who collected and threw to run out Dananjaya for 5.
Sri Lanka 299/8 (50 Overs) Run Rate: 5.98
(A.D. Mathews n.o. 97, N. Dickwella 43, B.K.G. Mendis 38, D.M. de Silva 30, M.D. Shanaka 21, P.W.A. Mulder 2/59, A.L. Phehlukwayo 2/60).
South Africa 121 All out (24.4 overs) Run Rate: 4.9
(Q. de Kock 54, A.K. Markram 20, J.P. Duminy 12, K. Rabada 12, A. Dananjaya 6/29, C.B.R.L.S. Kumara 2/34).
Man of the Match: Akila Dananjaya
Man of the Series: J.P. Duminy
By Srian Obeyesekere