Inspired by a Reeza Hendricks’ debut ton and a four-for from Lungi Ngidi, the Proteas swooped to a series victory over Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka showed their lack of faith in their batting when they opted to bowl first on a wicket that was described as a ‘belter’ for batting. The dry Kandy wicket lived up to expectations as the Proteas set a target of 364 for the hosts to chase, as they aimed to break a 10-match losing streak against the Proteas.
Hendricks and JP Duminy were the stars of the day.
Hendricks, who replaced an out-of-form Aiden Markram, scored a maiden ton on his debut showing exquisite stroke play and running between the wickets for his 102 off 89 balls (eight fours and a six). He held two key partnerships – 59 off 66 balls with Hashim Amla (59) and 78 off 73 balls with Duminy. This powered the visitors to 215-3 before Hendricks was removed by a gorgeous off-cutter from Thisara Perera that ripped through his defences and flicked the top of his leg bail.
Duminy’s 70-ball 92 (eight fours, four sixes) was another phenomenal innings. His partnership of 103 off 71 balls with David Miller (51) blasted the Proteas past the 300-run mark before Duminy picked out mid-wicket in an unselfish attempt to keep the scoring rate soaring.
This set the foundation for the Proteas’ innings, as they posted 363-7 in their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka started their innings off brightly but, halfway through the sixth over, they found themselves two down with 37 on the board. Ngidi got two early strikes to dismiss both openers, starting with Niroshan Dickwella (10) who hit straight to Faf du Plessis at short cover in the fourth over. Ngidi struck again in the sixth over, when Upul Tharanga’s failed pull-shot found Wiaan Mulder at square leg on 19.
Utilising the two all-rounders in the middle overs once again produced the goods for the Proteas.
Andile Phehlukwayo trapped Kusal Perera lbw in the ninth over while Mulder struck in the 12th – after an overturned review – dismissed Thisara Perera for 16.
Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis (31) added 43 before Ngidi struck again, drawing Mendis into the pull shot in the 20th over, only to find Mulder on the square-leg boundary, who took a superb diving catch.
Mathews was next to go, trapped lbw on 32 to give Tabraiz Shamsi his first wicket of the match.
Dhananjaya de Silva kept his side in the game as he went to his half-century, being well supported by Akila Dananjaya at the other end. The pair strung together 95 runs off 77 balls before Dananjaya (37) skied a Phehlukwayo short ball to Ngidi at mid-off.
De Silva’s brilliant knock of 84 off 66 balls (eight fours, three sixes) came to an end when the Proteas reviewed Nigel Llong’s not out decision. Ultra edge showed a spike that swayed the decision Phehlukwayo’s way as he picked up his third wicket of the innings, reducing the hosts to 273-8 in the 42nd over.
Shamsi bowled Prabath Jayasuriya for a duck and Ngidi wrapped the match up claiming his fourth, as the Proteas sealed a 78-run win and, with it, an unassailable 3-0 series lead.
South Africa innings 263-7– Reeza Hendricks 102, JP Duminy 92, Hashim Amla 59; Thisara Perera 4-75
Sri Lanka innings 285 – Dhananjaya de Silva 84; Lungi Ngidi 4-57, Andile Phehlukwayo 3-74
Photo: Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images