ESPNCricinfo: Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s vice-captain, needs a break from the game to rediscover his form, according to stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga. Chandimal was left out of the team to play the fourth ODI after a string of low scores on the South African tour and could even miss the final match on Friday as he seeks to put a poor tour behind him.
“It was a hard decision [to leave him out],” Tharanga said. “We chatted to him and he was okay to rest. He needs a few days away from cricket. We all know he is a very good cricketer. He will come back in the next tour. For a few days he needs to get away from cricket and get some rest.”
In 12 international innings across all formats on this visit, Chandimal has scored 180 runs all told at an average of 16.36. His highest return has been 36 in the second ODI in Durban and he has endured six single-figure scores. But a break would not be the obvious choice for the vice-captain.
He sat out Sri Lanka’s last tour, to Zimbabwe, as he recovered from a hand injury and, earlier in the series, coach Graham Ford had said he thought Chandimal came into this tour “slightly underdone”. Ford believed Chandimal is not far off his best but that he needed game time to get there.
Now it seems he may have to wait until the T20s in Australia, with his replacement Sandun Weerakkody impressing with a half-century in his second ODI. Weerakkody took Sri Lanka to the brink of victory at Newlands and earned special praise from Tharanga for making the most of the chance he got against a strong South African attack.
“This series was a very good opportunity for youngsters to learn the game and the way we played today, everyone learnt really good lessons,” Tharanga said. “Sandun playing his second game - the way he batted is good for him and the team.”
The same could be said for Tharanga himself. Although a veteran of the international game, who has played for more than a decade, he has gone almost four years without an ODI hundred and has only recently returned to opening the batting. Tharanga batted in the middle order in 2015 and 2016 but now, back at the top, he has fulfilled a life-long dream to score a century in South Africa. “Opening has given me the chance to get some big scores,” he said. “It’s very different conditions. The South African attack always has very good fast bowlers. To get a hundred in South Africa, as a batsmen, gives me a lot of confidence.”
SL fall short despite Tharanga century
Reuters: South Africa’s Faf du Plessis smashed a career-best 185 off 141 balls as the hosts beat Sri Lanka by 40 runs after surviving a fierce onslaught in a high-scoring fourth one-day international to take a 4-0 series lead on Tuesday.
After opting to bat, South Africa posted 367 for five in their 50 overs at Newlands but were then put under pressure by the tourists who made a magnificent start, only to wilt at the death to finish on 327 all out with nine balls remaining.
Sri Lanka captain Upal Tharanga led their charge with a brilliant 119 from 90 balls but the home side clawed their way back as they built up the pressure and wickets began to fall.
South Africa head into the final fixture of the five-game series in Pretoria on Friday looking for a clean sweep to extend their 13-match winning run at home.
Sri Lanka’s Upul Tharanga (1st-R) bats during the One Day International (ODI) cricket match against South Africa, at Newlands Cricket stadium on 7 February, in Cape Town – AFP
South Africa’s Francois “Faf” du Plessis bats during their One Day International (ODI) cricket match against Sri Lanka, at the Newlands Cricket stadium on 7 February in Cape Town – AFP
The hosts’ innings was anchored by the magnificent century from Du Plessis, the highest ODI score at Newlands and three runs shy of South Africa’s 50-over record of 188 scored by Gary Kirsten against the United Arab Emirates in the 1996 World Cup.
Du Plessis was well supported by Quinton de Kock (55 from 46 balls) and AB de Villiers (64 from 62) before a tired swipe to long-on off seamer Lahiru Madushanka saw him lose his wicket.
Du Plessis’ stand of 137 for the third wicket with De Villiers from one ball shy of 20 overs laid the platform for what became South Africa’s record ODI total at Newlands.
Sri Lanka made a thrilling start to their reply, crashing 100 without loss off the first 10 overs of their innings.
Tharanga and the classy Niroshan Dickwella (58 from 47 balls) added 139 in 16 overs before the latter was dismissed.
Tharanga carried on his merry way, crashing 11 fours and seven sixes, and when he was the third man out with the score on 216 in the 30th over, Sri Lanka were still in the driving seat.
But as South Africa began to find dot balls, Sri Lanka slipped from 307 for four to lose their final six wickets for the addition of only 20 runs.
Seamer Wayne Parnell was the pick of the home bowlers, returning figures of 4-58 in 9.1 overs, with one of those wickets the crucial scalp of Tharanga.
South Africa stick to winning formula
AFP: South Africa on Wednesday retained the squad that has outplayed Sri Lanka in a one-day series for the limited-overs section of a tour of New Zealand starting next week.
The same 14 players lead Sri Lanka 4-0 in a five-match home series. The final match is in Centurion on Friday and the squad will leave for New Zealand the next day.
Fast bowler Dane Paterson was added as cover for all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, who will miss the only Twenty20 international in Auckland on February 17 and the first one-dayer in Hamilton on 19 February because his wife is expecting their first child.
Paterson will return home when Pretorius joins the tour.
Batsman David Miller, ruled out of the last three matches of the Sri Lanka series because of a finger injury, is fit to travel but fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, who suffered a hip injury during the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, has not recovered.
The squad will do duty for the Twenty20 international and five one-day internationals. A squad for three Test matches will be announced later.
Cricket South Africa selection convener Linda Zondi said: “We are very happy with the way the squad has jelled over the past six months and consistency in selection is very important as we continue our build-up towards the ICC Champions Trophy tournament (in England in June).
“New Zealand are playing very good cricket at the moment and as always will provide very tough opposition, particularly under their home conditions.”
South African squad: AB de Villiers (one-day international captain), Faf du Plessis (T20 international captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wkt), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.