Akila Dananjaya produced his second ODI five-for to unravel the Proteas and finish the series on a high.
Facing a stiff target of 300 runs, the Proteas got off to the worst possible start when Suranga Lakmal bowled Hashim Amla for a duck in the first over. Aiden Markram seemed to be enjoying having the ball coming onto the bat as he stroked five boundaries in scoring 20 before hitting Akila Dananjaya’s googly back to the bowler, who made a fine diving catch.
A wrong un from Dananjaya trapped Reeza Hendricks leg before first ball, and he added the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen for three, again the googly leaving the batsman non-plussed as he played down the wrong line.
With their score 39-4 inside eight overs the Proteas still had hope as Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy looked to bat with purpose, until Duminy was also out caught and bowled, this time to Dhananjaya de Silva for 12.
De Kock went to his fifty off 53 balls, but Wiaan Mulder being trapped leg before shortly after for two to leave the Proteas 92 for six needing 208 more runs to win. Eight balls later De Kock was also on his way, and with him South Africa’s last hope in the match, as Dhananjaya bowled him with a beauty. The stand-in Proteas skipper had scored 54 off 57 balls, with seven fours and a six.
Andile Phehlukwayo was Dhananjaya’s fifth wicket, caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella, followed by Keshav Maharaj caught at mid off for his first six-wicket haul in ODIs. South Africa were all out shortly after for 121 in under 25 overs.
The Sri Lankan bowlers all did a good job, but Dhananjaya was the shining star, returning his career-best ODI figures of 9-0-29-6 (econ 3.22), with 37 dot balls. It also took him to the top of the wicket list in the series with 14 wickets.
South Africa took the series 3-2, but it would have been disappointing for them after the strong start they made with the white ball. In mitigation, the fourth ODI became a bit of a lottery due to rain interruptions, and they did use the last two matches to test out some players and combinations, although the Proteas will surely be disappointed with their performance with the bat in the last two matches.
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