The South African Emerging team ended their Sri Lanka tour on a disappointing note when they were beaten by two wickets in the third and final unofficial ODI in Colombo.
It was a close-run thing, though, with Sri Lanka limping over the line with seven balls remaining. It ended a journey in which the South Africans lost the two-Test series 1-0 and the ODIs 3-0.
Once again, the Emerging batsmen struggled to get going, with captain Tony de Zorzi (48), Eathan Bosch (48) and Matthew Breetzke (42) the top-scorers and all falling when well set. The eventual target of 223 was, consequently, woefully short.
In defence, the young South Africans can point to the fact that the Sri Lankans had thrown some battle-hardened senior players against them during the ODI series; players such as Dinesh Chandimal (139 senior ODIs), Dimuth Karunaratne (17), Asela Gunaratne (29) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (three).
In this match, three South Africans fell to the legbreak of Jeffrey Vandersay, a veteran of 17 ODIs, who took two wickets in four balls in the 20th over, reducing the visitors from 85-3 to 85-5. Two more fell to Amila Aponso, who has played six senior ODIs. Among those was Bosch, who had put on 92 for the sixth wicket with De Zorzi, until he fell in the 36th over, followed five balls later by the captain, who was run out.
Samarawickrama was the mainstay of the Sri Lankan innings, which faltered briefly when they fell from 93-1 to 109-4, thanks to a brace by Nandre Burger who was also responsible for a run-out. The Sri Lankan opener ended with 68, scored at a rate of 64, but containing just four fours.
But the South Africans then came across one of the true ’emerging’ players in Jehan Daniels, an under 19 star who took his opportunity to score 50 and put Sri Lanka in a powerful position. Godfrey Mahlokwana picked up two wickets, to give South Africa glimmer of hope at 193-7, and which burned brighter when Burger took this third wicket at 198-8, but the experience of Aponso (19) was enough to pull the home side over the line.
Nonetheless, from an ’emerging’ point of view, the South Africans probably gained more than the Sri Lankans.
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