DURBAN – Quinton de Kock continued his blazing run of sparkling form with his 14th career century to lay the foundation for a solid batting performance by the Proteas top and middle order in the third One-Day International at Kingsmead which ended in a 72-run victory for the hosts on Sunday.
The Proteas clinched the series 3-0 with two matches still to be played, but Sri Lanka were badly caught on the wrong end of a Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) re-calculation.
In a match that was disrupted by rain, the De Kock-inspired Proteas set a target of 332 to which Sri Lanka replied with 75/2 after 16 overs before play was interrupted by rain.
When play finally resumed Sri Lanka were set a near impossible revised DLS target of 193 in 24 overs, requiring them to score 118 off the remaining 48 balls. What made matters even worse was that they had lost Kusal Perera with a hamstring injury while fielding.
Tabraiz Shamsi removed Oshada Fernando in the first over after the resumption, and although Kusal Mendis hit two sixes in Shamsi’s next over he then fell to Imran Tahir.
In the Proteas innings after the early departure of his opening partner, Reeza Hendricks, De Kock was involved in stands of 97 with Faf du Plessis, and 66 with Rassie van der Dussen before being the third man out for 121 (108 balls, 16 fours and two sixes).
David Miller then continued the good work in partnerships of 44 with Van der Dussen, 53 with Dwaine Pretorius and finally an unbroken 47 off 20 balls with Andile Phehlukwayo of which the latter contributed 38 off 17 balls with five fours and a six.
In spite of De Kock’s fine innings – his third century against Sri Lanka and his second at Kingsmead – the Proteas looked as though they might finish shy of 300, but Phehlukwayo and Miller changed all that with their late onslaught that took the Proteas to a very competitive total of 331/5 with 99 of those runs coming in the final power play for the loss of just one wicket.
The other main contributor to the Proteas total was Van der Dussen who made exactly 50 (67 balls, three fours) but the most significant factor was that six of the seven batsmen made 30 or more.
De Kock completed 1 000 ODI runs against Sri Lanka as did Du Plessis. The only other two Proteas batsmen to go past this mark are Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla.
The recalled Isuru Udana was the pick of the Sri Lankan seamers both in terms of strike and economy rates, taking 2/50 in 8 overs while the debutant spinner, Kamindu Mendis took 1/45 in 10 well-controlled overs.
African News Agency (ANA)