A lot at stake in ODI series decider between SA and Sri Lanka

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Colombo, Sep 7 (IANS) Sri Lanka will hope to erase memories of the big loss against South Africa in the second One-day International on September 4 and bounce back to clinch the third and final match at the R Premadasa Stadium here when the match commences later on Tuesday.

The series is currently level at 1-1, with the hosts winning the opening match and the Proteas coming back to win by 67 runs under D/L Method.

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After a brilliant all-round performance in the opening match, the Sri Lankans struggled to replicate it in the second ODI. Early wickets meant that they were always on the back-foot in Colombo and will now have to return to the drawing board in order to seal a victory on home turf.

The Proteas were given a momentum boost with the players delivering the goods with both the bat and the ball. While Janneman Malan scored big, Tabraiz Shamsi worked his magic with his left-arm wrist spin, notching up figures of 5/49 in the second ODI.

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With only two points separating the sides on the Super League points table, plenty will be at stake during the series decider.

Riding on the back of Malan’s brilliant 121, the visitors posted a total of 283/6 on the board in their 47 overs in the second ODI. Sri Lanka never found any sort of momentum in their chase, losing wickets regularly as the Proteas bowled them out for 197, sealing a 67-run victory (DLS method) and drawing the series level at 1-1.

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Shamsi was the star of the show with the ball, with his five-wicket haul making all the difference.

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka said, “We started really well. The partnership between Janneman and Reeza took the game away from us. Death bowling also has been a cause of concern for us. The total was a chaseable one. The rain interruption also cost us a bit. We have to give more chances to fast bowlers. Last few series, the fast bowlers have been outstanding barring this series.”

South Africa stand-in skipper Keshav Maharaj told icc-cricket.com that, “My job was made easier by the team. We bowled well up first and pushed the Lankans on the back foot. I think the boys put in more energy behind the ball today. We talked about it. You should also play to the conditions. The coaches backed us and it paid dividends. We didn’t have much of a practice after the last game. We shot ourselves on the foot while chasing in the last game. Tried to work on that.”

–IANS

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