South Africa won the third Momentum ODI by 72 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain forced a three-hour delay at Kingsmead here yesterday shortly after Sri Lanka had begun their reply to the Proteas’ challenging total of 331 for five.
When rain intervened at 3.30pm, Sri Lanka had reached 75 for two in 16 overs. When play resumed at 6.20pm in front of a virtually empty stadium after a major mopping-up operation, the visitors were given the task of scoring a further 118 for victory — 193 in all — in just eight overs, a nearly impossible task.
Kusal Mendis smacked Tabraiz Shamsi for a couple of sixes, but when he departed, caught and bowled by Imran Tahir for 41, the Sri Lankans accepted the inevitable and batted out the remaining overs, finally finishing on 121 for five.
The result means that the Proteas have taken a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series with the two remaining games in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday and in Cape Town on Saturday.
Earlier, when Sri Lanka began their reply, Kagiso Rabada bowled a hostile opening spell and was rewarded with the wicket of Sri Lankan opener Niroshan Dickwella, while his partner, Lungi Ngidi, disposed of Avishka Fernando. Both players were caught at mid-on, mistiming attacking strokes.
Although the climax to the match proved to be something of a damp squib, the original crowd of 10 200 could at least appreciate man of the match Quinton de Kock’s 14th ODI century, a scintillating 121 in 108 balls that included 14 fours and two sixes.
The left-hander’s ton came on top of scores of 81 and 94 in the first two matches and showed him memorably extending his rich vein of form. His flashing blade enchanted the appreciative crowd after Sri Lanka had won the toss and put the home team in to bat.
One of the highlights of the South African innings came during De Kock’s second wicket partnership of 97 in 66 balls with his captain, Faf du Plessis (36 in 27 balls), after the early loss of Reeza Hendricks who tamely lofted a drive to Lasith Malinga at wide mid-off in the sixth over.
Both men played with the brakes off, cutting, driving, clipping off their legs and pulling as they progressed at nine runs to the over