A magnificent century from Janneman Malan helped South Africa level the three-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka with a commanding 67-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.
Malan’s third ODI century of 121 helped the Proteas post a very competitive 283 for six after stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj had won the toss and decided to have first crack under damp conditions. The match had been reduced to 47-overs per side after early rain had delayed the start of play.
“It was sad that Temba had to leave after injuring his finger but Kesh has proven on the domestic front that he is a good leader – he is a smart leader. He did great today and he showed that,” said Malan at the post-match press conference.
In reply, scoreboard pressure allowed Tabrais Shamsi to claim 5-49 as the hosts were bowled out for 197 in 36.4 overs in pursuit of a revised target of 265 in 41 overs after rain had again interrupted play after 25 overs of the Sri Lankan innings.
Man of the match Malan had to endure some serious bouts of cramp at the back-end of his 135-ball innings, which included nine boundaries and one six. Malan’s calmness at the start of the innings was key in South Africa’s total, especially in the measured approach of the opening stand of 43 with Aiden Markram (21).
“I was bumbed that I couldn’t field. It was very hot but I am feeling ok now,” said Malan.
But the two key partnerships for the Proteas was between Malan and Reeza Hendricks (51) for the second wicket, which realised 96 runs and Malan’s fourth-wicket 86-run blitz with Heinrich Klaasen (43). Klaasen’s four boundaries and six came from just 27 balls which gave the visitors the boost they needed.
“We adjusted our KPI’s a bit and looked at the overs and targets that we set ourselves. Reeza’s input was very valuable as he was scoring at a run-a-ball. But credit must go to Heinrich at the end there,” added Malan.
The reply was always going to be tough with clouds looming overhead and Kagiso Rabada (2-16) and Wiaan Mulder (1-30) did not make anything easier as the pair reduced the hosts to 19 for three with Rabada dismissing Avishka Fernando (8), caught by Hendricks at first slip and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (0), while Mulder had Minod Bhanuka (7) edging to Klaasen behind the stumps.
“I don’t think we bowled too badly in first game. We just underestimated the length and going too full on this wicket. We started great today and bowled well. Our batters are in a good space at the moment. It is great that the team can click on both fronts,” stated Malan.
Shamsi then put further pressure on the home side when Dhananjaya de Silva (12) nicked off behind. However, Charith Asalanka produced a fantastic fightback with a 69-ball 77 which included five fours and three sixes while sharing in a stand of 64 with Dasun Shanaka (30) for the fifth wicket.
The rain interruption also brought an interruption to the Sri Lankan chase as Shamsi had Shanaka caught in the deep by debutante George Linde before Linde picked up his first ODI wicket, a wonderful caught-and-bowled effort to remove Wanindu Hasaranga (3).
Chamika Karunaratne (36) had some fun at the back-end of the innings, clubbing two maximums and a four from 23 balls before Shamsi and Maharaj (1-32) finished off the game to setup the series decider on Tuesday.
“We have realistic goals and ambitions as a team. If we can achieve these goals then we will do well. In preparation for the final ODI, we are just going to polish a few things and continue what we have been doing,” ended the opener.
As published on Supersport.com