Home Sport Cricket SA bowlers reign as Proteas level ODI series

SA bowlers reign as Proteas level ODI series

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Kagiso Rabada of South Africa is congratulated for taking a wicket during the 2nd One Day International against Sri Lanka. Picture: Pradeep Dambarage, BackpagePix

Tabraiz Shamsi took a career-best 5/49 as the Proteas beat Sri Lanka in the second ODI to level the three-match series 1-1 in Colombo.

JOHANNESBURG – It wasn’t exactly Dean Jones in Madras, but Janneman Malan will carry some bruising memories of the finest innings of his career thus far.

While the late Australian great required a hospital visit after his sterling double hundred against India back in 1986, there wasn’t as much drama for Malan. However there was a lot of discomfort.

In extremely humid conditions in Colombo on Saturday, Malan was drenched, the fluid lost while batting, couldn’t be replaced fast enough by teammates and physio Craig Govender who were feeding him drinks and electrolytes.

Malan needed to use his bat to help him stand and in one instance – comical for his teammates – he collapsed, after trying to sweep, so hard that he ripped the skin off his right elbow as he struck the pitch, with blood dripping down his arm. However, like Jones in Madras, the pain and discomfort were all worth it for Malan.

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He allowed himself time to get accustomed to the conditions, not looking as irritated with himself as was the case in the first match on Thursday when he missed out on boundaries. He was patient initially, building a reasonable opening partnership of 43 with Aiden Markram and then he and Reeza Hendricks, who replaced Temba Bavuma, gave the innings its platform with a stand of 96 for the second wicket.

Malan controlled the innings very well, running hard after locating space in the vast Premadasa outfield, hitting boundaries when the Sri Lankans missed their lengths and he made regular use of the sweep against the spinners.

The start to Malan’s career has been a remarkable one. He’s passed fifty five times in just eight innings, and turned three of those into hundreds. As good as his maiden century was against Australia, to help anchor a run chase in Bloemfontein in March last year, Saturday’s effort in Colombo was even better.

The conditions aren’t what he’s accustomed to – not in terms of the humidity, nor the slowness of the pitch which certainly spun more on Saturday than it did on Thursday.

But Malan’s game plan was sound and the reward for his thinking, skill and bravery was to make a hundred that was extremely valuable.

It allowed Heinrich Klaasen, under pressure for his spot in the side, to be more aggressive and he scored 43 off just 27 balls, hitting four fours and a six.

Malan, after passing a hundred, and getting further treatment for cramp and that bruised elbow, smashed another three boundaries and a six before he was eventually dismissed for 121 – his innings lasting 135 balls in which he struck nine fours and a six.

Malan’s heroics were then backed up by a superb opening burst by Kagiso Rabada, who claimed two wickets in his third over. Rabada was undoubtedly fuelled by anger at his own lethargy in the opening match of the series. On Thursday he failed to find the right length, especially in his opening spell, but in the second ODI, he was back to his best.

He actually got the ball to zip off the seam on a few occasions too and bowled with far better control, pitching the ball up and making more judicious use of the short ball. It was one such brute of a delivery that accounted for his second wicket, that of Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Three balls earlier he’d dismissed the centurion from the first match, Avishka Fernando with one that bounced and moved away from the right hander which was edged to slip.

Wiaan Mulder, called up in place of Kyle Verreynne bowled a good spell too with the new ball, getting reward when he had Minod Bhanuka caught down the leg-side.

South Africa, captained by Keshav Maharaj, played three frontline spinners, on the more worn surface, with George Linde making his ODI debut. The starting team had greater balance – giving Maharaj seven bowling options – and with three all-rounders, giving the side eight batsmen.

After Rabada and Mulder had reduced Sri Lanka 19/3 by the sixth over, there was little way back for the hosts. They weren’t helped by a rain delay in the middle of their innings, which saw their target revised to 265 off 41 overs.

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Charith Aslanka made a lively and skillful 77 (69b, 5×4, 3×6), but there was little help from anyone else.

Tabraiz Shamsi, was South Africa’s most successful bowler, claiming 5/49 – his first ‘five for’ in ODIs – but Rabada’s 2/16 in six overs* was the best performance and in combination with Malan’s efforts, won the match for the Proteas.

The series decider will be played on Tuesday.

* Rabada left the field with an ankle sprain. He was due to be assessed on Saturday night.

Scorecard

South Africa 283/6 (47 overs): Janneman Malan 121, Reeza Hendricks 51, Chamika Karunaratne 2/24, Dushmantha Chameera 2/52

Sri Lanka 197 all out: Charith Asalanka 77, Chamika Karunaratne 36, Tabraiz Shamsi 5/49, Kagiso Rabada 2/16

Result: South Africa win by 67 runs (DLS method), level series 1-1

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