South Africa look to carry winning momentum

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: July 27, 2013, 7:41 PM IST
South Africa look to carry winning momentum

Pallekele: South Africa kept their series hopes alive by beating Sri Lanka by 56 runs in the third one-day international in Pallekele on Friday.

In fact, the victory ended South Africa's 11-match losing streak in one-day cricket on Sri Lankan soil.

Even though the visitors remain under pressure at 2-1 down and need to win the next game to avoid a series defeat, they will be hoping that the team can maintain their winning momentum.

The teams will square off once more at the same Pallekele ground on Sunday before heading back to Colombo for the fifth and final match of the ODI series.

Winning the toss will again be crucial since the team batting first has won every game on this tour, including the warm-up.

David Miller was the man of the moment for the Proteas in the third ODI and his unbeaten 85 enabled his side to post a competitive total.

The South Africans will also be pleased with pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe's four wickets and allrounder Farhaan Behardien's three scalps.

The bad news is that South Africa are likely to still be without Hashim Amla. The top order batsman remains in doubt after suffering a groin injury in the second ODI.

He did manage a nets session on Saturday, but a call on his fitness will only be made on Sunday morning.

If he is not entirely fit, it's unlikely that Amla will be risked as South Africa will be keeping one eye on their Test series against Pakistan later this year.

Allrounder Ryan McLaren is another player who is set for a late call after straining his hamstring during the third ODI on Friday. McLaren was only able to complete six overs of his bowling spell.

South Africa's biggest weakness is almost certainly their lack of a proven spinner at this level, which is not something Sri Lanka are troubled by.

On to the Lankan batting, the hosts will be hoping their batsmen's catastrophic top order collapse is just a one-off. At one point, they were 93 for seven, before Thisara Perera came in and blasted a 49-ball 65 to add some respectability to Sri Lanka's total.

Meanwhile, spinner Ajantha Mendis bowled extremely well to take three wickets while allrounder Thisara Perera picked up two.

The islanders will hope that their bowlers can maintain their good run against the South African batsmen in the fourth ODI as well.

Winning in Sri Lanka is a tough challenge for any team. Many have tried and failed and the relatively young and inexperienced South Africa outfit have done well to register a victory.

However, the hosts have a side packed with experience and will hope to seal the series in the fourth ODI.

Probable XIs

Sri Lanka: 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (captain), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Angelo Perera, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ajantha Mendis

South Africa: 1 Alviro Petersen, 2 Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), 3 JP Duminy, 4 AB de Villiers (captain), 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 David Miller, 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Aaron Phangiso

First Published: July 27, 2013, 7:41 PM IST

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