Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla smashed centuries to blast the Proteas to 384-6, as they look to seal the whitewash against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas have given themselves every chance of sealing that No 1 ODI ranking at Centurion as they posted another huge total – the second-biggest at Centurion. While they’ll be wary of Sri Lanka’s threat at the top of the order, as was displayed in the fourth ODI at Newlands on Tuesday, this was even bigger, and the Sri Lankans might be counting down the minutes until they get on that plane back home.
De Kock and Amla have been unstoppable on this ground. It wasn’t merely Amla’s second-best ODI score, it was his fourth ODI century in a row at this ground, and he is now level with AB de Villiers on 24 ODI centuries. De Kock doesn’t mind this ground either. It was a third consecutive century for him here, following on his 178 against Australia last year. He also became the third-fastest South African to reach 3 000 ODI runs, behind Amla and Gary Kirsten.
Fourteen ODI wins in a row at home and 11 ODI victories on the trot beckon – all of this after losing the toss.
The Sri Lankans, seeking a consolation victory on what has been a miserable tour, opted to field first. De Kock and Amla were unstoppable, though some wayward bowling and poor fielding didn’t help the tourists’ cause.
The pair amassed 71 in the first 10 overs with no less than 14 boundaries struck during that time. Sri Lanka had the opportunity to work their way back into it, but it was scuppered when skipper Upul Tharanga failed to hold on to a catch at slip when Amla was on 38.
The rest was easy for the pair as De Kock brought up his 12th ODI century off 80 balls. It took a good catch from Sandun Weerakkody off the boundary to see him off, as he mistimed one for 109.
Faf du Plessis pushed on from where De Kock left off. The Test skipper is in the form of his life, scoring a record-breaking 185 at Newlands and he looked set to continue in that vein before mistiming an attempted straight slap to perish for 41.
Ab de Villiers looked in the mood to go huge with on eye on pushing towards the 400-mark, but that took a blow as he found yet another fielder on the boundary, walking back for a nine-ball 14.
Amla remained the constant, and while he slowed down somewhat as he edged closer to his century, he did eventually bring up three figures off 112 balls. Once that milestone was complete, he opened up his shoulders and unleashed. He lost Duminy for 10, but found a willing partner in Farhaan Behardien (32). Amla hit three sixes off six balls as he brought up his 150. It was his second-best score in ODIs and it was the third-best score at Centurion.
He departed for 154, with the tail providing the finishing touches to get them to 384-6, eight runs short of the highest total at Centurion, achieved against Pakistan in 2007.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images