Your essential guide to the fourth ODI between the Proteas and Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
The Proteas are hunting a second consecutive 5-0 ODI series win over Sri Lanka. The last time the sides clashed, in South Africa in 2017, the Proteas cruised through all five ODIs.
The star last time out was Faf du Plessis, whose 410 runs ensured the Proteas remained on top throughout the series. Unfortunately, his tour has been cut short after picking up a shoulder injury in the third ODI.
Quinton de Kock skippered the side in the absence of Du Plessis, as the Proteas sealed the series with a 78-run win at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. He will captain the side again for the remaining ODIs.
In the Proteas’ last ODI series, against India in South Africa, Du Plessis was also unavailable. The responsibility as captain was given to Aiden Markram, who had a horrid time – performance and results-wise – in a 5-1 drubbing against the world’s No 2 side.
Markram was dropped – or as Du Plessis said, ‘rested’ – for the previous match after a daunting Sri Lankan tour for the 23-year-old. His struggles, in the Tests and ODIs, is the main reason for De Kock’s appointment, as Markram aims to find his feet.
Reeza Hendricks’ phenomenal performance on debut, which saw him hit a maiden ODI ton, should see him retained at No 3.
Sri Lanka will hope they can break their losing streak of 10 matches at home.
Players to watch
Du Plessis’ replacement will have a point to prove. Although the selectors have hinted at Markram‘s return, Heinrich Klaasen is still an option. Whoever is selected will have the perfect flat wicket on which to play their natural game.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews spoke after their defeat about the pitch conditions, saying that he wanted his team to learn how to win on even wickets and not on the usual dusty turning wickets for which the subcontinent is known. This indicates that a similar wicket will be prepared, which suits batting.
Sri Lanka need all their players to step up. They have been sub-par with the bat and ball. Whether they stay with the same XI or not is the question. Dhananjaya de Silva came in and looked phenomenal for his 84 off 66 balls and could be difficult to stop once again come Wednesday, while Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera will also pose a threat.
1. Hashim Amla
2. Quinton de Kock
3. Reeza Hendricks
4. Aiden Markram
5. JP Duminy
6. David Miller
7. Wiaan Mulder
8. Andile Phehlukwayo
9. Kagiso Rabada
10. Tabraiz Shamsi
11. Lungi Ngidi
Sri Lanka XI
1. Niroshan Dickwella
2. Upul Tharanga
3. Kusal Mendis
4. Kusal Perera
5. Angelo Mathews (c)
6. Thisara Perera
7. Shehan Jayasuriya
8. Akila Dananjaya
9. Suranga Lakmal
10. Lakshan Sandakan
11. Lahiru Kumara
– Sri Lanka have lost their last 11 ODIs against the Proteas.
– The Proteas have played Sri Lanka four times at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Besides their victory on Sunday, the visitors won in July 2013. Sri Lanka won the other two in July 2014.
– Reeza Hendricks and Hashim Amla are the only South Africans to have scored centuries on the ground. Amla’s 101 came in an 87-run defeat in 2014.
– Sri Lanka have now lost nine series and drawn one out of their last 11 bilateral ODI series.
The fourth ODI starts on Wednesday at 11am SA time.
Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix