Sri Lanka spinners-- Akila Dananjaya, Dananjaya de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan joined hands to inflict misery into the South African batting order by bowling them out for their lowest T20 international total-98 in the one-off T20 match being played at the R Premadasa ground.
Elected to bat first South Africa got off to fiery start scoring 13 runs off the first over including three boundaries, but failed to continue the same agression as Sri Lanka spin trio ran through the innings with 20 balls in South African innings left.
Sandakan finished with best figures of 3 for 19 while Akila Dananjaya and Dananjaya de Silva picked up two wickets to bowl the visitors out.
Chance for South Africa to finish Sri Lanka tour on a high
Sri Lanka and South Africa will have a chance to end a see-saw tour with a win on Tuesday, 14 August, when they clash in a Twenty20 International in Colombo.
The one-day internationals ended 3-2 on Sunday, with South Africa losing two on the trot after securing a 3-0 lead. The two-match Test series before that had been dominated by Sri Lanka in a 2-0 win.
South Africa will desperately hope to take the honours in the T20I now because otherwise, their complete submission to spin in the Tests might remain a scaring takeaway from the tour, despite their early success in the ODIs.
Once the hosts got momentum, South Africa struggled in the ODIs as well. While the fourth ODI was a hard-fought encounter, Sri Lanka winning a thriller by three runs (DLS method), South Africa were completely outplayed in the fifth – Sri Lanka won by a handsome 178 runs, with Angelo Mathews scoring a run-a-ball 97 before Akila Dananjaya’s 6/29 bundled South Africa for 121.
It meant South Africa slipped to fourth place in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings despite winning the series.
There will be a big change for the T20Is – JP Duminy will captain the side, with Quinton de Kock having led the side in the ODIs after Faf du Plessis picked up an injury. How that will arrest the slide remains to be seen, but Duminy himself is in fine form, and was named Player of the Series in the ODIs.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will back themselves to finish the series on a positive note. They have been bolstered by the return of Dinesh Chandimal, although that has put Niroshan Dickwella, the aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman, out of the side.
Mathews will continue leading the side, but it’ll be his first T20I match in a while – he last played one in India in December, missing the subsequent clashes against Bangladesh and the Nidahas Trophy through injuries.
He’s in fine form, though, and that should carry through to the T20Is as well, although South Africa will try their best to ensure that’s not the case.
Akila Dananjaya (Sri Lanka): After the ODIs, de Kock said Dananjaya had “bamboozled us”. The unorthodox spinner has proven hard for the South Africans to read, and he’s had a whale of a time against them. His 6/29 in the final ODI was a big reason for Sri Lanka’s win, and he will once again be primed to make the decisive contribution. South Africa will be wary.
JP Duminy (South Africa): South Africa’s best player in the ODIs, Duminy’s all-round skills will be further pushed to prominence in the shortest format, and South Africa will rely on them quite heavily. He’ll also captain the side on Tuesday, though, and Sri Lanka will be hoping that added responsibility hinders his form.
Thunderstorms are expected in Colombo on Tuesday, as is the case in Sri Lanka this time of year. There’s excellent drainage at Sri Lankan venues though, and expect the match to take place one way or the other.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dhananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha
South Africa: JP Duminy (c), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi