• SA Emerging efforts fall short

    The experience and depth of the Sri Lankan Emerging team ensured a comfortable five-wicket victory over the young South Africans in the second of three unofficial ODIs, in Dambulla.

    The South Africans will be a bit disappointed with the final score of 267 after they chose to bat, considering they were in an excellent position at 157-3 after 27 overs, with solid contributions from Tony de Zorzi (33), Ryan Rickelton (61) and Matthew Breetzke, who ended three runs short of a deserved hundred, off 103 balls.

    Captain De Zorzi set off like an Exocet missile, smashing his 33 off 23 balls (SR: 143) and helping to put on 41 in five overs before he fell to right-arm quick Asela Gunauratne. Rickelton, too, was not one for wasting time as he ran up his 61 off 72 balls, at a slightly more moderate rate of 84.

    But at that point, the runaway innings hit the buffers, with Tshepang Dithole (four), Kagiso Rapulana (four) and Eathan Bosch (six) all falling with the addition of 18 runs.

    Breetzke, who had watched this procession, finally found a productive partner in Gregory Mahlokwana (36) and together they put on 81 for the seventh wicket, but much of the momentum had been lost. When those two departed in successive overs, the tail was not able to provide the much needed late push. The South Africans fell two overs short.

    Nonetheless, there was at least the moral victory of dismissing experienced Test and ODI openers, Dimuth Karunaratne (12) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (25) in successive overs with 40 runs on the board. That, though, was as good as it got.

    The young Kamindu Mendis (54), Charith Asalanka (69) and Asela Gunaratne (57), another with extensive senior experience, including 29 ODIs, ensured there would be no faltering on the way to a five-wicket victory, albeit with five balls remaining.

    So the South African Emerging team go down 2-0 in the three-match series, with the final outing on 14 August.


    Photo:  Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images