Centuries from Faf du Plessis and David Miller propelled the Proteas to 307-6 in the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Durban.
With or without the skipper’s armband around his sleeve, Du Plessis continues to prove that he is in some of the best form of his life. He brought up his seventh ODI century with an effortless boundary, which summed up the ease in which he scored his runs throughout. Then, at the death, Miller crunched a ton of his own, at the very ground he struck his match-winning 118 not out off 79 balls to seal the series for the Proteas against Australia back in October.
It means the hosts are well-placed to seal a seventh ODI victory in a row, with Sri Lanka’s young and inexperienced side needing it all to do on a slow track under lights at Kingsmead.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to have a bowl first, but on a pitch that appears to be deteriorating, captain Upul Tharanga might well rue that decision.
It was plain sailing for the tourists at first as Suranga Lakmal trapped Hashim Amla lbw for 15. Du Plessis got going straight away with two boundaries off his first five deliveries, before Quinton de Kock (17) dragged a full toss straight to deep mid-wicket, handing Dhananjaya de Silva a gift of a wicket.
The Sri Lankans continued to chip away at the top order. Skipper AB de Villiers feathered a top edge to Dinesh Chandimal for three, and the continued pressure told as JP Duminy chipped one straight to mid-on for a 19-ball 11.
Despite the hosts looking fragile on 108-4, Du Plessis never allowed himself to get bogged down, and with 30 overs still left in the innings, it was an opportunity for Miller to get himself in and take control of the innings, which he did with distinction.
Du Plessis survived a dropped catch on 63, but it was chance-less and effortless from there, as the pair built up a 117-run stand. Sixty-four balls per fifty was the slowest it got throughout for the Proteas as Du Plessis took every single that was on offer, and eventually he brought up his century off 113 balls.
It was at that stage that both batsmen decided to tee off, and although Du Plessis perished for 105, Miller kept going and displayed the depth to his overall game that had been lacking for so long before he got that century against Australia. A cameo from Chris Morris (26 off 20) helped things along, while six sixes from Miller, along with 20 runs from the last over, got the side over the 300-mark.
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images