Proteas clinch historic series victory
South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by 82 runs in the 3rd ODI to clinch a 2-1 series victory in Hambantota.
CAPE TOWN - The Proteas made history by winning their first ever One Day International (ODI) Series in Sri Lanka, after a comprehensive 82 run victory in the third ODI in Hambantota gave them a 2-1 series victory.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first in blustery conditions, an opening partnership of 118 between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock laid the groundwork for the Proteas to post their highest ever total in Sri Lanka of 339 for 5 in their allotted 50 overs.
De Kock showed maturity beyond his years, stroking an exquisite century before being removed for 128 - the highest individual score ever for a South African against Sri Lanka in ODIs.
Skipper AB de Villiers was at his swashbuckling best, blasting 108 off 71 balls and displaying his full repertoire of improvised and inventive shots, guiding South Africa to their formidable innings total.
No side has ever chased down more than 300 in Sri Lanka, but for a period it looked as though the home side might become the first to do so after scoring 99 in the 10 power play overs up front.
But a sequence of three wickets for just six runs swung the momentum back in South Africa's favour, particularly as the three scalps were the prized ones of Tillekeratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka had lost five wickets by the halfway stage of the innings, making any sort of a comeback very difficult. Skipper Angelo Mathews did his best however, knocking a defiant 58 before being snagged by a brilliant one-handed catch from Morne Morkel at fly-leg-slip.
Ryan McLaren was the pick of the South African bowlers, ending with figures of 3/37 in 9 overs which gave him 9 wickets in the series.
Imran Tahir took an outstanding 1/29 in his 10 overs, and the six that Mathews struck off him was the first boundary he had conceded in the last two matches. JP Duminy also was good value for his 2/43, which included a classic off spinner's delivery to bowl Lahiru Thirimanne.
De Kock was named Man of the Match for his batting exploits, while Amla was named the player of the series for his two centuries and a half-century at an average of more than 80. Picture: Twitter.