A confident South African team will look to extend their record winning streak against Sri Lanka in the third ODI in Kandy on Sunday.
A victory will secure the series win for the Proteas and extend their impressive run of 10 consecutive ODI victories against Sri Lanka, which is a record against a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe.
The streak started in Sri Lanka in 2014 and has run through fixtures at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, a 5-0 whitewash at home, the 2016 ICC Champions Trophy and the ongoing series. The resolve of the Proteas’ young bowling attack has been the standout highlight of the series so far, and has been key to limiting the hosts to reasonable totals in both matches. All four seamers along with left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi are playing in Sri Lanka for the first time, and have been effective and adapted well to the conditions.
‘You can’t compare the attacks,’ Hashim Amla said in Kandy on Saturday ahead of the third ODI. ‘We have a good bowling attack in terms of pace and guys who can utilise the first 10 overs, especially if the wicket doesn’t turn. We have Shamsi who has done wonders and JP [Duminy] as well as our spinners. Both attacks are good, we have managed to make inroads up front which has helped us to keep the scores a bit low.’
Amla and Quinton de Kock have found their groove at the top of the innings this series, with their 91-run partnership setting up the platform for the win in the second ODI. The pair have an impressive average of 119 in the 24 innings they have opened together, and have racked up 10 100-plus stands including a record 282 not out against Bangladesh last year.
‘Quinny and I have opened together for quite a few years,’ Amla said. ‘We have a good relationship on and off the field. We take things with a smile on our face, we want to enjoy our batting as best as we can.
‘When we got to our 50 partnership in the second game, it felt like we hadn’t batted together in a long time, so we really appreciated that. Quinny is chilled, I try to encourage us to play our games and to be as positive as we can with a smile on our faces.’
Amla didn’t give much on the team selection for the match, but was full of encouragement and support for Aiden Markram, who has struggled against Sri Lanka’s spinners.
‘Aiden is a wonderful player. He got two low scores but that could happen to anybody – it has happened to me throughout my career. He is a brilliant player – he will come right. I don’t know what the team for tomorrow is like, but Aiden is someone who trains exceptionally hard and is determined in his batting. I have no doubt that in time he will come good,’ Amla concluded.
The match is scheduled to start at 10am local time.
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