Sri Lanka and South Africa played a hard-fought one-day series last few days. In the final match at the Premadasa at Colombo, the hosts won the toss and batted. They finally managed to get 203/9 wickets in 50 overs due to some fine restrictive spin bowling of the Proteas. Left-arm spinners George Linde (2/32) and Keshav Maharaj (3/38), chinaman Tabrez Shamsi (2/31) and occasion offie Aiden Markram (1/41) all bowed their full quota of overs very tight to keep the hosts in check. Sri Lanka finally managed to eke out 203/9 with Asalanka (47) and Dhananjaya D Silva (31) being their chief contributors. Later Chameera(29) added some invaluable runs to get Lanka past 200.
In reply , Dushmanta Chameera bowled with hostility to dismantle the South Africa top order getting Hendricks bowled through the gate and getting Dussen (5) caught brilliantly at midwicket by a diving Kamindu Mendis. Markram edged spinner Jayawickrama to slips and South Africa had already lost 3/19 .
Once Janneman Malan (19) , Klaasen (22) and Moulder (2) were dismissed in the middle order with South Africa tottering at 6/54 , it looked all over for the tourists and the hosts worked their way easily to dismiss South Africa for 125 in 30 overs and win by 78 runs.
For Sri Lanka, Man of the match Dushmanta Chameera took 2/16 to deliver the initial blows . Hasaranga took 2/32 to maintain his consistency.
However, the big hero was debutant off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana who took 4/37 to signal a great start to his career. He dismissed both Malan & Klaasen as they were threatening to build a strong partnership. 4/37 is the best ever returns for any Sri Lankan debutant in ODIs
Brief overview of first 2 ODIs :
The whole ODI series was played at R Premadasa stadium at Colombo. The first ODI was an exciting affair. A brilliant 118 off 115 balls by Avishka Fernando helped Sri Lanka to an imposing total of 300/9.Avishka was supported by Dhananjaya D Silva (44) and Asalanka (72).
In reply, fine batting by Markram (96) supported by Dussen (59), Bavuma (38) and Klaasen(36) took South Africa very close but in the end they lost by just 14 runs having ended at 286/6.
The Proteas levelled the series in the second game to show that they were no pushovers. Janneman Malan’s excellent 121 and a belligerent 43 off just 27 balls by Klaasen took South Africa to 283/6 in 47 overs. In reply brilliant bowling by Rabada and Moulder reduced the hosts to 19/3. Asalanka (77 off 69 balls) tried to stage a fightback with Shanaka(30) and Karunaratne (36) but Tabrez Shamsi (5/49) was too good to allow the hosts a comeback. Sri Lanka were allout for 197 to lose by 86 runs and series was levelled 1-1 only for the hosts to win the final match and take the series 2-1.
Charith Asalanka for his consistency in batting was the man of the series