Half-centuries from Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella helped Sri Lanka post 244-8 in the second ODI against the Proteas.
The surface in Dambulla was dryer than the one for the first ODI, and this prompted Sri Lanka to once again bat first after winning the toss, despite their five-wicket defeat on Sunday.
The Proteas were looking to maintain their dominance over the hosts and selected an unchanged XI, while Sri Lanka gave two debutants a chance – right-arm seamer Kasun Rajitha and left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya.
Despite the wicket being analysed as the perfect batting surface, Lungi Ngidi gave the Proteas the perfect headstart with a double strike in his opening over. The 22-year-old found Upul Tharanga’s edge with his fifth delivery and followed up by trapping Kusal Mendis lbw the next ball. The hat-trick ball was averted at the start of his second over.
Faf du Plessis once again opted to bowl his seamers in four-over spells but, unlike in the first ODI, this time his two all-rounders were superb and kept a controlled line and length. The pair only conceded 24 runs in their first seven overs bowling in tandem.
Andile Phehlukwayo struck three balls into his second over to dismiss Sri Lanka’s star performer from the first ODI, Kusal Perera (12), after he struck a loose pull to Ngidi at mid-on. With three wickets down, Sri Lanka had only 56 runs on the board, but Dickwella (69) kept his side in the match with a well-played innings. He was targeted by short deliveries and, despite taking a nasty blow in the ribs courtesy of Wiaan Mulder, he went on to score his sixth half-century, and his first in 17 innings since he scored 64 against India in August 2017.
Sri Lanka pushed past the 100-run mark, after which Dickwella chopped a wide delivery from Phehlukwayo onto his stumps as the 22-year-old all-rounder picked up his second wicket.
Mulder joined the wickets party when a delivery down leg was flicked at by Shehan Jayasuriya, who was given out after a review from the Proteas.
Sri Lanka captain Mathews marched on to his 36th half-century, taking his side past the 200-run mark, before Ngidi broke the momentum when he banged in a short delivery to Thisara Perera (19), who top-edged a pull shot to give Quinton de Kock a relatively straightforward catch, although he had to avoid the fielder’s helmet that had been placed behind him. It was De Kock’s third dismissal of the match and his eighth in the series to date.
Rabada made it 216-7 when Akila Dananjaya (nine) drove one straight to David Miller at cover with five overs still to bowl in the innings.
Phehlukwayo got his third with a knuckleball yorker which crashed into Suranga Lakmal’s stumps with the batsman on seven. Mathews ended unbeaten on 79 as Sri Lanka posted 244-8 from their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka innings 244-8– Angelo Mathews 79*, Niroshan Dickwella 69; Lungi Ngidi 3-50, Andile Phehlukwayo 3-45
Photo: Shara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images