Sri Lanka sink to their biggest loss
South Africa 301 for 8 (Amla 112, Kallis 72, de Villiers 52, Malinga 5-54) beat Sri Lanka 43 (Morkel 4-10) by 258 runs
South Africa’s season of outlandish results produced another jaw-dropper as Sri Lanka subsided to 43 all out, their lowest total in one-dayers. The shorter format was widely expected to make the one-day series a more even contest than the Tests, but Sri Lanka’s 258-run defeat in Paarl was the third largest in ODI history, giving AB de Villiers the perfect start to his captaincy.
South Africa’s batsmen had earlier enjoyed themselves despite the scorching heat as they ran up 301 after winning the toss. Hashim Amla highlighted why he’s the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman with his ninth century, and was supported by the two other big guns of the batting – Jacques Kallis provided the early impetus before de Villiers produced the most fluent innings of the match to power South Africa on a pitch where both seam and spin proved elusive in the afternoon.
Lasith Malinga underscored his value to Sri Lanka, with a five-for that reined in South Africa towards the end of the innings, but his sterling efforts proved moot as Sri Lanka lost five wickets in five overs to effectively end the contest.
Two South African bowlers with points to prove were given the new balls and they snuffed out the resistance even before the main man Dale Steyn was called on. Morne Morkel, coming off an indifferent Test summer, started the collapse in the first over as Upul Tharanga attempted a leaden-footed slap which ended as a low catch at backward point. In the next over Lonwabo Tsotsobe, having lost his place as third seamer to Vernon Philander in the Tests, showed how potent he can be by getting the ball to jag in and rear at the batsman. That proved too much for Tillakaratne Dilshan, who also bagged a duck by gloving to the keeper.
The alarm bells were truly ringing when Dinesh Chandimal struggled to get bat on ball, inside-edging an accurate Tsotsobe three times before nicking a loose drive onto the stumps. Morkel then virtually killed off the game in the fifth over: Kumar Sangakkara’s attempted upper cut gave de Villiers his second catch, and two balls later Angelo Mathews’ awkward fend at a short ball popped to midwicket.
Mahela Jayawardene then made an unforced error in the eighth over, stabbing a wide ball to point as Sri Lanka slid to 13 for 6. The match was long gone, and the immediate concern was over avoiding the ignominy of the lowest score in one-day history.
In that manic Test at Cape Town in November, Australia’s last pair had averted the lowest Test total, and this time Sri Lanka’s tail did the job. Not that it offered much consolation for Dilshan, who looked shell-shocked in the dressing-room as his team disintegrated. While the pitch certainly provided a bit more help to the bowlers under lights, it was nowhere near as dramatic as the scoreline suggested.
When South Africa batted there had few of the troubles Sri Lanka faced. Malinga extended Graeme Smith’s poor run in one-dayers, but till the 40th over, the likeliest cause of a South African wicket was a run-out.
Amla wasn’t at his assured best early on, outside-edging a few drives and mistiming some pulls. Kallis, though, batted like a man coming off a double century a week ago, routinely releasing the pressure after Sri Lanka’s bowlers put together a few disciplined overs – most strikingly when he thumped Malinga over long-on for an imperious six, ending a run that yielded only 2 runs in 15 deliveries.
Both batsmen used the steer to third man and the clip to square leg efficiently to keep the singles coming. They had sauntered to 69 for 1 in 15 overs before opening up in the bowling Powerplay, off which they took 37 runs. With both batsmen looking good, South Africa opted for the batting Powerplay as early as the 27th over, but the 144-run stand was finally broken as Kallis was run out by a direct hit from Jayawardene at cover.
If there were fears that would slow down South Africa, de Villiers brushed them away as he played another of those innings where he seemed instantly at ease on a track where most others take time to settle down. He had a streak of 19 successive singles with Amla before becoming more enterprising, unleashing a series of boundaries through cover and extra cover to get to his half-century in 36 balls. Amla, meanwhile, calmly moved on to his hundred, celebrating the achievement with a gentle wave of the bat and helmet.
At 241 for 2 after 40 overs, South Africa seemed headed for at least 320. A Kulasekara yorker, though, removed the rampant de Villiers, before Malinga worked his magic to rip through the lower middle order.
The South African batting and Malinga’s five-for were both completely overshadowed by what followed, in a one-dayer that is destined to be remembered as the ’43 all out’ game.
Back to the drawing board for SL national cricket team.
The gentleman’s game of cricket has been ruined by political manipulation. No wonder, starving cricketers couldn’t even man the crease for more than 20 of the 50 overs.
The captain is the wrong man. How can a proven child rapist banned from Zimbabwe lead a national team who, less than a year ago, were finalists for the world cup.
The authority, SL Cricket, has been and will be in doldrums for eons. The Minister for Sport has failed and should resign in shame.
What do you expect when the poor fellows have no money to even buy their food. The Rajapksas are to hang their heads in shame for not paying these poor fellows and eating all their food while throwing away money for other thamashas.
Your outlook seems to be malicious.You are aiming at the failure of the Cricket Board ,an admitted fact,but direct your guns towards the govt.and its Minister. If as you say the players are starving and in no mood to play an international game why did they get into the field to project their motherland? This definitely is a tragedy and has to be probed and remedial action taken.
Your last sentence is in bad faith and is self contrdictory. You say SL Cricket has been in the doldrums for eons (an immeasurable period of time) and in your previous para you say we were finalists for the world cup.To be in the doldrums and to be finlists cannot be in the same boat.
Your choice of words like eons ,unless it is for colour,reveals your malicious attitude. Please be positive and prepare to see a light at he end of the tunnel if ever you come across any.
Sri Lanka Cricket has hit a new low with (1) the appointment of T Dilshan as the captain and (2) gross mismanagement of cricket administration culminating in cricketers not being paid their wages.
Sri Lanka reached the finals in the world cup due to the inspiring leadership and commitment of senior high-claibre players including Sangakkara and Jayawardane and Matthews. That commitment appears to be have waned significantly and can be attributed to poor leadership both at administrative and captaincy levels.
Having intensely observed the events leading to the finals in the world cup, the behaviour of manipulators such as Aravinda and Jayasooriya, I developed an opinion that the finals were fixed not at the field level but above. The last minute dramatic team changes which ‘ensured’ SL’s defeat are a pointer.
SL is due in Australia end of January. It isn’t too late to atleast coax Sangakkara or jayawardane into team leadership. If not, SL is likeley to drop down to a new low in par with Zimbabwe.
In response to “If as you say the players are starving and in no mood to play an international game why did they get into the field to project their motherland?” in Blog 4, if players refuse to get onto the field, they will be branded “traitors” and possibly “supporters of LTT rump and related elements intent on causing embarassment and damge to the brilliant leadership of the Blue Brother cabal”. Lone motorcylists and white vans will also start following them.
You have expressed some constructive and timely criticism over our SLC.You have named two of those resposible for our debacle.I too agree with you in this regard.They had nothing but purse and revenge in their hearts and body when they manipulated themselves to administer or play for SLC.The result is absolute disaster.
As for your entry in blog No.6 above I shall not be audacious enough to cast aspersions on your temerity as experienced by you personally .I admit you have a right to hold your private views.