• AB – 268 was doable

    Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers has hailed Hashim Amla’s performances in the ODI series, but lamented the lack of support the opener had in the second game on Wednesday night.

    Following South Africa’s 87-run loss to Sri Lanka in Pallekele, De Villiers spoke about his disappointment at his batsmen not being able to chase down the relatively small total. ‘I think we did extremely well to keep their score down to 260-odd, which was not going to be easy, but doable. I would have liked to see us get closer than we did.’

    In the end, the Proteas only managed 180, a total dominated by Hashim Amla’s second century of the series, and third on tour. ‘Hash is an amazing cricketer and it’s great to have him in our side, especially when he’s playing like that. It makes things a little bit easier’, De Villiers said. ‘He played an amazing innings with the bat, we just couldn’t form partnerships around him.’

    De Villiers’ 29 was the next best total, with no other recognised batsman getting into double figures. Instead it fell to Dale Steyn, playing with a severely bruised hand sustained while bowling his third over, to provide some support for Amla at the tail end of the innings. But once the bearded wonder holed out to a Malinga full toss, the contest was over, and the Proteas now face a tough task in claiming a maiden ODI series win in Sri Lanka on Saturday.

    In the first innings the bowlers recovered well from a poor start, and the loss of Steyn to that hand injury, to restrict the Sri Lankans to a sub-par total. ‘Losing Dale up front was a big blow, but I thought the boys tried really hard right until the end of our bowling innings. We pulled it back nicely with the ball to what seemed like a decent total to chase down,’ De Villiers said, ‘so it’s very disappointing we couldn’t back that up with the bat.’

    ‘But we’re still in the series and we’ll move on to Hambantota and try and fix things there. Even though we lost we still have confidence in the whole batting line-up to get it right in the last game.’

    The third ODI takes place on Saturday 12 July, and will start at 6:15 am SA time.

    Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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    Dan Gillespie