South Africa bounced back on a gale force all-round performance showcased by an extraordinary batting display capped by a Player of the Match 121 by opening batsman Jameman Malan to defèat Sri Lanka by 63 runs and level the 3-match series 1-all on Saturday at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
Malan’s 135-ball knock inclusive of 9 fours and a six indeed drove home the Protea’s batting mechanism in no uncertain terms on the heels of their magnificent run chase in the failed opening contest leathering a flagging Lankan attack to the tune of 283 for 6 in the rain hit 47-over affair. They followed it up on a splendid pace-spin cleaning up of the Lankans for 197 on the revised D/L.
The destroyer was Shamsi who bamboozled the host top batters returning 5 for 49, his first 5 bracket achievement including the wickets of top scorer Charith Asalanka 77, Dasun Shanaka 30, Dhananjaya de Silva 12.
Sri Lanka started disastrously losing 3 wickets in the space of three balls. Strike bowler Kagisso Rabada started the rot having Avishka Fernando caught by Reeza Hendricks for 8 in the third ball of his third over and having Bhanuka Rajapaksa caught behind off the final delivery for a third-ball duck as in the previous game. Soon after, Mulder struck with his first delivery dismissing Minod Bhanuka caught by Klassen for 7. Asalanka staged a virtual lone battle being seventh out with the score 147 after having added 64 with Shanaka for the fifth wicket to lift Sri Lanka from 61 for 4 off 14.1 to 125 when the Lankan skipper fell for 30 caught Linde as Shamsi wrought havoc.
In defeat, it was a commendable èffort by young Charith Asalanka who did stir the imagination of an astute strokemaker of the left-handed species fresh on the top flight blocks who demonstrated lithe footwork in timing the ball for his second successive fifty hitting 3 sixes and 5 fours.
Overly, it was a remarkable comeback by the South Africans braving the handicap of losing their captain Temba Bavuma through injury with Aeshew Maharaj standing in to lead the side admirably. Significantly, their bauing mechanism repeated the fire power that took South Africa to within sight of a last gasp victory. Their win this time around was built on cameos from Reeza Hendricks 51 off 54 (5×4) adding 96 off 112 with Malan for the second wicket, and Henrich Klassen 43 off 27 (4×4, 1×6) – 86 off 64 for the 4th wicket with Malan.