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Three’s a charm

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Proteas take unassailable 3 - 0 lead in ODI series against Sri Lanka in rain-affected 'massacre'

SCINTILLATING FORM: Quinton de Kock of South Africa puts the ball away for his 100th run during the third 2019 ODI against Sri Lanka at Kingsmead yesterday. Picture: Gerhard Duncan BackpagePix

QUINTON de Kock continued his blazing run of sparkling form with his 14th career century to lay the foundation for a solid batting performance by the Standard Bank Proteas top and middle order in the third Momentum One-Day International at Kingsmead yesterday.

The Proteas won in the end by 72 runs to clinch the series 3-0 with two matches still to be played, but Sri Lanka were badly caught on the wrong end of a DLS re-calculation that was hardly fair.

In a match that was badly disrupted by rain, the De Kock-inspired Proteas set a target of 332 to which Sri Lanka replied with 75/2 after 16 overs before play was disrupted.

When play finally resumed Sri Lanka were set a near impossible revised DLS target of 193 in 24 overs, requiring them to score 118 off the remaining 48 balls. What made matters even worse was that they had lost Kusal Perera with a hamstring injury while fielding.

Tabraiz Shamsi got rid of Oshada Fernando in the first over after the resumption and although Kusal Mendis hit two sixes in Shamsi’s next over he then fell to Imran Tahir. The Proteas final power play also started at this stage so they could crucially have an extra fielder on the boundary.

It reached a stage when they required an impossible 75 off the last 12 balls, even if every ball was hit for six.

In the Proteas innings after the early departure of his opening partner, Reeza Hendricks, De Kock was involved in stands of 97 with Faf du Plessis, and 66 with Rassie van der Dussen before being the third man out for 121 (108 balls, 16x4s and 2x6s).

David Miller then continued the good work in partnerships of 44 with Van der Dussen, 53 with Dwaine Pretorius and finally an unbroken 47 off 20 balls with Andile Phehlukwayo of which the latter contributed 38 off 17 balls with five fours and a six.

In spite of De Kock’s fine innings – his third century against Sri Lanka and his second at Kingsmead – the Proteas looked as though they might finish shy of 300 but Phehlukwayo and Miller changed all that with their late onslaught that took the Proteas to a very competitive total of 331/5 with 99 of those runs coming in the final power play for the loss of just one wicket.

The fourth match takes place at St. George’s Park on Wednesday (1pm start).