Reeza Hendricks’ debut ton helped power the Proteas to 363-7 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Kandy.
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 proved to be highly conducive to batting as the Proteas raced to 64-1 by the end of the powerplay.
Hashim Amla came out of the gates with an aggressive approach. The opener, whose form has been questioned of late, attacked the Sri Lankan seamers and raced to 38 off 28 balls, including eight fours, as the Proteas climbed to 42-0 by the sixth over.
Quinton de Kock failed to emulate his opening partner as he swung across his line and top-edged a Lahiru Kumara delivery to backward point with his score on two.
His dismissal brought debutant Hendricks to the crease and he got off the mark with a sumptuous drive to the left of cover point for four.
Amla brought up his 36th half-century off just 39 balls, hitting a six followed by his ninth four to reach the milestone.
Unfortunately, he didn’t hang around much longer. He survived a successful review for an lbw shout which overturned umpire Raveendra Wimalasiri’s original decision, but Thisara Perera’s off-cutter beat Amla’s bat and pad shortly after, clipping the top of off-stump to send Amla on his way after a sparkling 59 off 59 balls.
Hendricks took the opportunity to stake his claim on the innings, in the process becoming the seventh South African to score more than 50 on ODI debut.
After losing his skipper Faf du Plessis for 10, the 28-year-old was joined by an in-form JP Duminy and the pair scored at over a run a ball and toyed with the fielders by picking up singles all around the ground.
Two consecutive boundaries in the 35th over brought up a sensational Hendricks ton, but Perera cut the celebrations short when he ripped through the defences the following ball, flicking the top of the leg bail.
Hendricks’ 102 off 89 balls – with eight fours and a six – made him the third South African to score a ton on debut, following Colin Ingram’s 124 in 2010 and Temba Bavuma’s 113 in 2016 against Ireland.
His dismissal brought the struggling David Miller to the crease to partner Duminy, who continued with his rich vein of form to reach his 27th half-century off 53 balls.
The last 10 overs saw the pair shift gears and, after bringing up their 50-run partnership off 48 balls, they put the pressure on the Sri Lankans by adding 103 runs off 71 balls to blast the Proteas way past the 300-run mark.
The 46th over saw Duminy race into the nineties after smashing Suranga Lakmal for two fours and two sixes, but the following over saw the 34-year-old fall eight runs short of a century after holing out to deep midwicket off Thisara.
Miller continued the onslaught and brought up his 11th half-century before picking out deep mid-wicket off the following ball.
Andile Phehlukwayo’s sparkling cameo of 24 came off just 11 balls, with three fours and a six, as the Proteas posted a formidable 363-7.
South Africa innings 363-7– Reeza Hendricks 102 off 89 balls, JP Duminy 92 off 70 balls, Hashim Amla 59 off 59 balls; Thisara Perera 4-75
Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images