SL tour of SA 2018/19 News All-round Proteas ease past Sri Lanka
Updated 14-03-19 | 10:30 AM | Staff Writer
Quinton de Kock equalled Jonty Rhodes’s record of five consecutive ODI half-centuries and Faf du Plessis contributed 43 as the Proteas completed a routine six-wicket victory in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park on Wednesday to take a 4-0 series lead with the final game in Cape Town on Saturday.
Anrich Nortje led an accomplished bowling performance to help dismiss Sri Lanka for a below-par 189 on a blameless batting pitch and the home side reached 190 for four with De Kock (51 from 57 balls) doing most to complete victory with 17.1 overs to spare.
All six bowlers used claimed a wicket and there was a miserably embarrassing run out at the end of the innings to complete a dreadful day for the tourists who have been heavily beaten in all four matches.
Nortje, 25, was simply too fast for the Sri Lankans and claimed 3-19 in his first, six-over spell before No 9 Isuru Udana smashed him for three consecutive sixes in his seventh to register his maiden ODI 50 and another one in his eighth to add a respectability to the total which had seemed highly unlikely when they crashed to 97 for seven at the halfway stage of the innings.
Left-arm fast bowler Udana was comfortably the top scorer with 78 from just 57 balls, including seven fours and four sixes. Nortje conceded 38 runs from his final two overs to finish with 8-0-57-3.
Udana was named man-of-the-match despite being on the losing side.
“I have been working on my batting,” he said. “Once we were nine down I had to take my chance.”
Dale Steyn began the rot when veteran opener Upul Tharanga (4) set the tone for a feeble batting effort with a tame chip to mid-on and Oshada Fernando’s ill-disciplined slash to Reeza Hendricks was the first of many poor shots to follow.
Avishka Fernando (29 from 27 balls) briefly looked threatening before pulling a Nortje bouncer straight to short midwicket and debutant Priyamal Perera departed next ball glancing another short delivery off the face of the bat straight into De Kock’s gloves. The wicketkeeper provided Nortje with his third wicket, too, courtesy of a Kamindu Mendis (22) edge.
JP Duminy completed four overs for 21 runs on his return to the ODI side and was gifted a wicket when Dananjaya de Silva pulled a long hop straight to Nortje at deep square leg.
Captain Lasith Malinga was coasting through to a comfortable single when he failed to ground his bat, enabling Reeza Hendricks’s seemingly innocuous throw to run him out with his bat well behind the popping crease but still in the air. Malinga again lamented the failure of the top-order batting.
“This wicket is very suitable to the bat,” he said. “They (the batsmen) didn’t realise their value and take the opportunity to play a long innings.”
Reeza Hendricks (8) and Aiden Markram (29) were both in desperate need of a sizeable score in their head-to-head battle for a place in the World Cup squad but the former top-edged a sweep and the latter lobbed a leading edge to cover.
De Kock and Du Plessis, the leading scorers in the series, were in sublime form again before both offered catches to midwicket but David Miller (25*) and Duminy (31* from 21 balls) made sure there were no late alarms.
“Our bowling unit has been very consistent in this series and in the last two games the batting is starting to tick,” said Du Plessis after the win.
SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (capt), J-P Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
SRI LANKA: Upul Tharanga, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Priyamal Perera, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga (capt), Isuru Udana