Sri Lanka win ODI series after beating SAfrica by 78 runs

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COLOMBO: Chasing 204, South Africa crumbled to 125 in 30 overs after a top-order meltdown.

Sri Lanka sealed an easy 78-run win over South Africa in the third and final ODI in Colombo to bag the series 2-1 and 20 more ICC ODI Super League points. Set 204, South Africa crumbled to 125 in 30 overs after a top-order meltdown that left them reeling at 54 for 6.

Spinners were always going to play a crucial role in the contest and Keshav Maharaj – South Africa’s stand-in captain – knew that right from the start.

Sri Lanka chose to bat first and Maharaj brought himself on in the second over. He struck first – removing Avishka Fernando for 10 in the fourth over before George Linde dismissed Dinesh Chandimal in the seventh.

With the help of Charith Asalanka’s 47 ensuring the bowlers had a fighting total. Dasun Shanaka (13), Wanindu Hasaranga (6) and Chamika Karunaratne (16) couldn’t quite get going but Dushmantha Chameera’s 29 pushed the side towards the 200-run mark – a total which was more than enough on the day.

Asalanka was the eighth batsman to fall – in the 42nd over with 166 on the board – but South Africa were not able to close the innings quickly.

Maharaj had bowled his spinners hoping the hosts would fold inside 47 overs but Chameera’s contribution meant they batted all 50 overs. Kagiso Rabada was expensive given the conditions and that hurt Maharaj’s plans.
In the chase, Janneman Malan struck the opening delivery for a boundary to open his account. Aiden Markram was caught at first slip in the second over trying to defend a Praveen Jayawickrama delivery but what hurt South Africa most was losing wickets to a pacer. Reeza Hendricks was bowled by Chameera before Rassie van der Dussen was caught at short midwicket in the fifth over.

Debutant Maheesh Theekshana (10-0-37-4) too left an impact as he dismissed the danger man Janneman Malan in the 10th over before trapping Heinrich Klaasen lbw in the 16th. With six wickets down inside 17 overs, South Africa’s chances of making a comeback looked pretty bleak. Andile Phehlukwayo and Linde did delay the inevitable and save the side some blushes after the batsmen failed to capitalise on the good work from the bowling unit.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 203/9 in 50 overs (Charith Asalanka 47; Keshav Maharaj 3-38) beat South Africa 125 in 30 overs (Maheesh Theekshana 4-37) by 78 runs.

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