Saturday Star

COME IN NUMBER ONE

Proteas regain top ranking after blitzing Sri Lankans

- STUART HESS

tion as a good one on which to chase, choosing to field after winning the toss. Also in his mind would have been his side’s gutsy effort in the previous match in Cape Town on Tuesday when he scored 119 to push Sri Lanka to within 40 runs of the Proteas’ total of 367.

While De Kock and Amla were together yesterday it always looked as if South Africa would surpass that mammoth score as they took advantage of the hard new ball coming onto the bat and the width on offer from the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Their 187-run first wicket partnershi­p came at a rate comfortabl­y above seven to the over, with De Kock making up for a period of lethargy from his older teammate. He scored fluently, particular­ly through the leg side, where some stunning flicks off the hips were completed with a lavish flourish of his blade. His 12th ODI century – his fourth at his new home ground – took just 80 balls and he was eventually dismissed for 109 with 16 fours.

Faf du Plessis (41) and Farhaan Behardien (32) assisted Amla as SA surged passed 300. The prodigious opener had become somewhat bogged down as he made his way towards the three-figure landmark, battling to come to terms with the bowlers mixing up their pace and length.

Neverthele­ss, he registered a 24th ODI century which sees him tied with AB de Villiers for the most by a South African in the format, and along with his 26 Test hundreds, meant he also notched up the 50th ton of his internatio­nal career.

Amla suddenly opened his shoulders thereafter and played some gloriously aggressive shots that included a pair of sixes in the 47th over off Lahiru Madushanka, two of the biggest blows of his internatio­nal career. He went from 100 to 150 off just 20 balls by hitting two fours and five sixes. He was eventually caught on the deep cover boundary for 154 (134b, 15x4, 5x6) the second highest score of his career.

But for a thrilling innings of 39 by opener Dickwella and a fighting century from Asela Gunaratne, there was little to write home about for the tourists. There is plenty for them to ponder, but also hopefully plenty their young players would have learned from what has been a chastening tour.

 ??  ?? South Africa’s Hashim Amla drives on his way to a magnificen­t century against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park yesterday.
South Africa’s Hashim Amla drives on his way to a magnificen­t century against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park yesterday.

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