Quinton de Kock, the wicketkeeper, and AB de Villiers, the captain, hit aggressive hundreds to carry South Africa to an 82-run win over Sri Lanka in the third and final One-Day International on Saturday (July 12). The win gave South Africa a 2-1 series win, its first in an ODI series on Sri Lankan soil.
De Kock smashed 128 off 127 balls, while de Villiers was even more aggressive, taking only 71 balls for his 108. De Villiers reached his hundred off only 66 balls as South Africa posted 339 for 5 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota, its highest total against Sri Lanka.
The home side was restricted to just 257 all out in 44.3 overs, while attempting what would have been a record chase. Sri Lanka began positively, with 57 runs coming inside the first six overs thanks to Kusal Perera (37) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (30). But Dilshan, Kumara Sangakkara (36) and Mahela Jayawardene (2) fell in the space of just six runs, to give South Africa control of the match.
Lahiru Thirimanne went for 22 to make it 151 for 5, after which Angelo Mathews (58) and Ashan Priyanjan (30) put up some resistance during an 83-run stand, but the target proved too much.
For South Africa, Ryan McLaren, the paceman, took 3 for 37 while JP Duminy and Morne Morkel grabbed two wickets apiece.
Earlier, De Kock put on 118 for the first wicket with Hashim Amla (48) and another 116 for the second with de Villiers as South Africa improved on its previous highest total of 317 for 6 against Sri Lanka at Centurion in 2002.
De Kock reached his fifth ODI hundred with a sharp single off 108 balls. He holed out at mid-off in the 41st over, but not before bettering South Africa’s highest individual ODI score against Sri Lanka made by Boeta Dippenaar (125*) at Adelaide in 2006.
In all, De Kock hit 12 fours and three sixes but was overshadowed by his skipper, who smashed 11 boundaries and four sixes in his 17th ODI hundred.
De Villiers was in a punishing mood, dancing and moving at the pitch with ease to power his way to the third fastest ODI century by a South African behind Mark Boucher’s 44-ball effort and his own 58-ball century.
Sri Lanka had packed its playing XI with five spinners, bringing in Rangana Herath, but de Villiers and de Kock negated that spin factor with sublime batting.
The teams now play a two-Test series starting at Galle from July 16.