Sri Lanka Beat the Rain and South Africa to Take Grip on ODI Series

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2013

Hashim Amla is an injury worry for South Africa
Hashim Amla is an injury worry for South AfricaMichael Steele/Getty Images

Sri Lanka took an iron grip on the ODI series with South Africa by winning a rain-affected clash in Colombo to move two-nil ahead in the five-game series.

On a slow, low pitch where shotmaking was difficult, Sri Lanka posted 223 for 9 in 49.2 overs. The target was reduced to 176 in 29 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis Method, and it proved beyond the tourists who were 17 runs short of the par score of 121 when the rain came again during the 21st over.

And to rub salt into their wounds, South Africa saw star batsman Hashim Amla pick up an injury in the field that leaves him a doubt for the remainder of the series.

Kumar Sangakkara was the star turn in the opening game, with his career ODI best 169 propelling Sri Lanka to a 180-run win. There was no repeat on this occasion, as he was removed for 37 by Aaron Phangiso, but Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal both made 43 to propel the home side towards a competitive looking 223 for 9.

Morne Morkel was the pick of the South Africa bowlers, taking 3 for 34, but he also sent down five wides as the Proteas conceded 28 extras in the innings.

Rain was forecast, and it duly arrived with four balls of the Sri Lanka innings remaining and resulted in a lengthy delay and a revised target.

With no Amla, who was taken to hospital after twisting his knee when attempting to cut off a boundary, South Africa always looked on the back foot against the array of bowling options at Sri Lanka’s disposal. Lasith Malinga hammered home that point by removing Robin Peterson in the first over.

Alviro Petersen (24) and JP Duminy (15) steadied the ship with a partnership of 32, but the dismissal of the latter sparked a collapse. Four wickets fell for thirty runs, including that of key figure AB De Villiers who was given out leg before wicket on review to Dilshan after the initial huge appeal had been turned down.

Sri Lanka took the pace off the ball through Rangana Herath, Dilshan and Jehan Mubarak, and Ryan McLaren and David Miller found boundaries hard to come by.

South Africa were well behind the rate when rain returned to end the contest. They will now need to win the final three games to take the series.