Recent Match Report – South Africa vs Sri Lanka 4th ODI 2019 |

Anrich Nortje delivers Getty Images

Innings Sri Lanka 189 all out (Udana 78, Nortje 3-57, Phehlukwayo 2-21) v South Africa

Sri Lanka’s collapse began in the third over, and continued until the ninth wicket fell in the 34th over, before Isuru Udana’s 78 off 57 balls added a measure of respectability. Not enough respectability though, to make his team’s total an acceptable score. In a series that has been full of mediocre Sri Lanka batting performances, their 189 all out in 39.2 overs was the worst of the bunch.

Fast bowler Anrich Nortje reaped the best figures for South Africa, taking 3 for 57 from his eight overs, largely prospering via the extra bounce he was able to generate. Andile Phehlukwayo was the bost disciplined on show, taking 2 for 21, while Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi and even JP Duminy picked up a wicket apiece.

None of these bowlers were particularly menacing on a slow-ish, slightly two-paced Port Elizabeth pitch. But they were disciplined, and only had to await the opposition mistakes. Even during the last-wicket stand between Udana and Kasun Rajitha worth 58 (Rajitha’s contribution was 0), South Africa did not look especially perturbed. Udana struck the ball cleanly and intelligently, targeting the less-well protected parts of the ground, but eventually holed out to long off, to end Sri Lanka’s innings.

Sri Lanka’s innings began poorly, with Upul Tharanga and Oshada Fernando losing their wickets to Steyn and Ngidi respectively nside the first four overs, before Kusal Mendis and Avishka Fernando attempted a recovery. The pair seemed to have te measure of the South Africa bowlers by the end of the Powerplay, but as has often been the case with this Sri Lanka team, the partnership was broken before it could truly mature – Avishka jabbing Nortje to short midwicket for 29, in the 11th over.

From there the wickets came frequently. Debutant Priyamal Perera was out first ball, gloving Nortje down the legside. Kamindu Mendis was also caught behind, nicking an attempted cut off Nortje. There was no significant partnership until the last-wicket stand. Kusal Mendis was out for 21 trying to pull Phehlukwayo. Thisara Perera chipped a Tabraiz Shamsi ball back Shamsi, who took a good catch diving forward. Captain Lasith Malinga’s dismissal, though, was perhaps the most reprehensible of all. Calling Udana through for a single towards midwicket, Malinga ambled the run, did not slide his bat, and was caught short by the direct hit by Reeza Hendricks. When he left, Sri Lanka were 131 for 9.

So far back were Sri Lanka by this stage, tha Udana’s heroics may not matter. But they were heroics nonetheless. He struck three sixes – in the arc between midwicket and long on – and multiple fours through cover and long off. At a time when South Africa were perhaps guilty of easing back on the intensity, Udana repeatedly found the boundary.

This was Udana’s best List A score, let alone his best in internationals. His hitting has given Sri Lanka a chance, but not much of one.