Janneman Malan lost for words about excellent start to international career
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JOHANNESBURG – With three hundreds in his first nine One-Day Internationals, Janneman Malan – perhaps understandably – is not keen to delve too deeply into why he’s having so much success so early in his international career.
Best to just let it happen.
“You don’t want to think about it too hard,” he said on Saturday following a man of the match performance that helped South Africa tie the three match series against Sri Lanka at 1-1. The series decider will be played on Tuesday.
“You have to break it down game by game and start over and do what you’ve got to do in the game. I really don’t know what to make of it, but the name of the game is to score runs and take wickets and I’m fortunate to have had such a good start."
Malan made 121 as South Africa scored 283/6 in 47 overs in a rain reduced match at the Premadasa Stadium. The Proteas won by 67 runs on the DLS method, after Sri Lanka's innings was also interrupted by rain.
Malan made a first ball duck on debut against Australia in February last year, but immediately followed that up with a match winning century in Bloemfontein to help South Africa to clinch that series. Two half centuries followed and then he scored 177 not out against Ireland in July. His average after eight innings is a staggering 104.5 and a strike rate of 92.47 shows that those runs are being scored at a healthy clip.
Saturday’s was another fine performance, one he described as “one of the most special in my life.”
“We batted well in the first match against the spinners. I just watched what Aiden (Markram), Rassie (van der Dussen) and Heinrich (Klaasen) did. Obviously in the middle overs the sweep was very effective, we feel we can trust the bounce. If you play with a straight bat you get beaten.”
He shared two critical stands; the first with Reeza Hendricks for the second wicket was worth 96 runs - and then an 86-run partnership with Heinrich Klaasen for the fourth wicket, gave the innings a much needed boost.
South Africa’s bowling was also much improved from the first match, with Kagiso Rabada’s opening spell in which he picked up two wickets, putting Sri Lanka under pressure immediately at the start of their chase. “We made a slight adjustment, and gave no width,” said stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj.
Malan said the bowlers had made a further adjustment after the first match. “I think we underestimated how full you can (bowl) on this wicket. (Sri Lanka) obviously like playing square of the wicket.”