Dilshan and Mendis down SA in opener
led by a superb century from Tillakaratne Dilshan and three wickets from Ajantha Mendis, beat hosts South Africa by 55-runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method in their ICC Champions Trophy match at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday.
After being put into bat by the Proteas, Sri Lanka posted a record 319 for eight before holding South Africa to 206 for seven before rain forced play to be abandoned with 74 balls remaining in the match.
Dilshan’s third one-day-international (ODI) ton paved the way for Sri Lanka to post their highest ODI total against South Africa, comfortably beating their previous best of 303 for eight made in Colombo in 2004.
Sri Lanka’s total was also the highest score against South Africa at Centurion eclipsing the 300 for three the West Indies notched up against the Proteas in 2004.
In an innings littered with broken records Dilshan and his captain, Kumar Sangakkara, shared in a Sri Lankan record second-wicket partnership against South Africa, of 158 runs off 104 balls, beating the previous landmark of 129 between Avishka Gunawardene and Marvin Atapattu compiled in Colombo in 2000.
South Africa’s run-chase looked to have been set up by a second-wicket partnership of 81 runs off 67 balls between Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.
Smith brought up his 39th ODI half-century, off 52 balls, before becoming Mendis’s first wicket when the mystery spinner beat Smith’s defensive prod, with his first ball of the match, to bowl the left-hander for 58 runs off 44 balls with nine fours and a six.
Smith was dismissed in the 15th over with South Africa on 90 for two. Twenty-three runs later Mendis effectively killed off the home side’s challenge when he captured two wickets in two balls.
Kallis was first to go, caught by a diving Angelo Mathews at mid-off for 41 off 48 balls, before Duminy was dismissed in similar fashion to his captain.
AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha and Mark Boucher all contributed scores in the 20s but Mendis’s fine spell of three for 30 from seven overs meant that the home side were always battling an ever increasing run-rate.
Fast bowler Lasith Malinga and seamer Mathews picked up two wickets apiece in support of Mendis.
Earlier, the right-handed Dilshan, who brought up his century off 87 balls, eventually fell for 106 when he uppercut a delivery from fast bowler Dale Steyn straight down Morkel’s throat at third man.
Dilshan’s runs came off 92 balls with 70 of his runs coming courtesy of 14 fours and a six.
In addition to Dilshan’s century Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene chipped in with half-centuries to help Sri Lanka to their big total.
On a dry pitch that did not offer much in the way of bounce, the home side made a bright start when Steyn trapped Sanath Jayasuriya leg-before, for ten, in the third over of the innings.
Dilshan and Sangakkara then took control of proceedings before Sangakkara was caught and bowled by off spinner Duminy for 54 off 74 balls.
Dilshan was the next wicket to fall, with Sri Lanka’s score on 181 before Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera added to South Africa’s agony with a 116-run fourth-wicket partnership off 104 balls.
Jayawardene scored his 50th ODI fifty, off 49 balls, before he and Samaraweera lost their wickets in consecutive deliveries from left-arm quick Wayne Parnell.
Jayawardene was first to go, caught by Duminy at extra cover for a well-played 77 off 61 balls with eight fours and a six while Samaraweera (37) was caught by Roelof van der Merwe at long-on.
Steyn bowled with purpose to return figures of three for 47 off nine overs while Parnell’s three wickets were expensive with the bowler conceding 79 runs off his ten overs.
South Africa’s next match in the tournament is against New Zealand on Thursday while Sri Lanka face England on Friday.