South Africa v Sri Lanka 5th ODI preview & live at Centurion

South Africa v Sri Lanka 5th ODI preview & live at Centurion Photo: TT

South Africa and Sri Lanka will meet in the final match of their ODI series at Supersport Park in Centurion on Friday, with the home side firm favourites to record a second successive whitewash in an ODI series on home soil, having beaten Australia 5-0 before Christmas, and now leading the Sri Lankans 4-0.

Although the tourists did show an element of fighting spirit in the fourth fixture between the sides in Cape Town, they still came up 40 runs short. The three previous contests had all been far more one-sided, with the Proteas easing home by 8-wickets in Port Elizabeth, 121-runs in Durban, and 7-wickets in Johannesburg.

When the South Africans posted 367-5 in their 50-overs, based on a stunning 185 from Faf du Plessis, scored from just 141 balls faced, a fourth heavy defeat for the visitors looked on the cards. However, Dickwella and Upul Tharanga posted 139 for the first wicket in just over 16 overs, to set the tempo for the chase.

They were to advance to 307-4 with seven overs remaining, and a remarkable victory looked as if it might just be possible. However, the middle order crumbled lack a deck of cards from there, and the last six wickets mustered just another 20 runs, to leave them 40 runs adrift of their relieved opponents.

The late collapse was pitiful in the light of the effort by opener outcome Tharanga, who struck 119, which included 11 fours and 7 sixes.

The Proteas will look for a sixth successive ODI victory at Supersport Park, the two most recent fixtures there, bringing startling victories for the hosts.

Early in 2016 England posted 318, but were unable to defend the total, as de Kock and Hashim Amla both scored centuries, and the Proteas got home with nearly four overs remaining. Then before Christmas they chased 295 to win against Australia in only just over 36 overs, as Quinton de Kock smashed an astonishing 178 off of only 113 deliveries.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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