Sri Lanka vs. South Africa: 5 Players Who Impressed in ODI Series

Antoinette MullerFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2013

Sri Lanka vs. South Africa: 5 Players Who Impressed in ODI Series

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    The aches and pains of an embarrassing defeat are finally over for South Africa. In the one-day format, at least. They lost the fifth and final ODI on Wednesday, sealing a 4-1 series loss.

    The Proteas never really looked like they were able to compete with their hosts. They were completely and totally outclassed in every aspect. Sri Lanka looked like a well-oiled juggernaut and were all over South Africa like a rash.

    But who impressed the most? We pick five players who stood out during the series. And yes, we've managed to justify adding a few Saffas. Add yours in the comments. 

JP Duminy

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    JP Duminy only just recently returned from injury. After a snapped Achilles ended his tour of Australia last year, Duminy had to go back to square one. Since returning, though, he didn't look like he'd been out of touch at all.

    He first returned during the Champions Trophy in England earlier in the year, but showed signs of promise against Sri Lanka. Prompted up the order to No. 3, Duminy posted a top score of 97 and chipped in a little bit with the ball, too.

    While South Africa's bowlers—even the part-timers like Duminy—were completely outclassed by their Sri Lankan counterparts, at least there is some slight glimmer of hope. 

Kumar Sangakkara

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    Undisputedly one of the top one-day players in the world at the moment, Kumar Sangakkara had a stellar series with the bat.  He finished with the most runs (372) at a staggering average of 93. 

    Of course, South Africa's bowlers made it easy for him, but Sanga was impressive in his approach all-round. A subtly destructive approach has made the former Sri Lankan captain an absolute joy to watch over the course of the tournament.

    Even those who prefer bowling to batting would have been cooing for Sanga's drives and so they should. 

Thisara Perera

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    Thisara Perera proved just how valuable an all-rounder can be and reiterated just how much South Africa are missing a Jacques Kallis-like figure.

    Perera's efforts with both bat and ball were outstanding. When he wasn't restricting the scoring and picking up wickets, he was bludgeoning the Proteas bowlers. Perera has been fulfilling that role for Sri Lanka for quite some time now, but he's finally properly making a mark for himself.

    His slower ball bouncer is superb and his ability to hit all around the wicket and bat almost anywhere in the order is a massive asset for Sri Lanka. 

Tillakaratne Dilshan

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    Tillakaratne Dilshan had a standout tour. Not only did he score bucket-loads of runs, he managed some wickets too.

    South Africa's ineptitude with the bat and their seeming inability to play spin helped Dilshan a lot, but that should not discount his performance.

    Dilshan has always been a handy extra bowler, but lately he seems to have refined his craft. He has become somebody his captain can turn to when he really needs a wicket. Not that Sri Lanka were very desperate for wickets against South Africa.

David Miller

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    David Miller's outstanding 85 not out was almost reminiscent of his 100 in the IPL earlier this year. It was straight from the school of "If it's in the V, it's in a tree and if it's in the arc, it's out the park."

    Miller finished as the fifth highest scorer of the series, despite only one solid effort with the bat. He flopped in his last two games, scoring 1 and 0, but Miller has showed that he does have the ability to perform when the pressure is on.

    A few poor performances shouldn't force him aside. Miller is one for the future, and on a tour where there weren't many positives, at least he's one.