Ricochet News

Sri Lanka flummox Proteas as T20 Series levels

By Marc Jacobson - Jan 23, 2017
Sri Lanka flummox Proteas as T20 Series levels

On a wicket that provided much seaming swing, the Proteas struggled to adapt to the spinners and chinaman-styled bowling of Sri Lanka, as the Proteas slumped to their first defeat in the Sri Lankan incoming tour at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

The loss levelled the T20 Series 1-1, and Sri Lanka will certainly feed off the redemption and confidence they accrued after winning in conditions where they most certainly took advantage of their strengths with a very threatening bowling performance.

This bowling spell restricted South Africa to a meek 113 all out, for which Sri Lanka surpassed with a six, with just three wickets and two balls to spare. All credit must be given to Sri Lanka, even against a young and inexperienced almost-second string Proteas’ line-up.  

What made the affair ironic was the fact that in the past, Wanderers’ wickets have always been batsman-inclined surfaces, and had seen its fair share of mammoth totals – with South Africa merely always producing the goods at the ground.

It was, however, on Sunday that the ground became Sri Lanka’s habitual groove, as the newly enveloped pitch played more into the visitors’ hands than the hosts’ with the wicket adding much turn in spin and swing. Slow left-arm chinaman, Lakshan Sandakan (4/23) flummoxed the Proteas in this advantageous effort.

The Protea’s bowling efforts, too, came close to restricting the Sri Lankans, but the dismal total displayed too fragile to hold up, as Sri Lanka gloried by three wickets. A special mention should go to 20-year-old and recent debutant, Lungi Ngidi, who showed fine form with his swinging pace as he achieved bowling figures of 4/19 – even slightly better than that of the Sri Lankan chinaman.

Angelo Mathews was awarded man-of-the-match as he scored an unbeaten 54, while the Proteas’ top scorers with the bat were Heino Kuhn (29) and captain, Farhaan Behardien (27).

Behardien spoke up and admitted to SuperSport that a lack of assessment and their misjudgement of a changed wicket cost them the game.

“The nature of the wicket brought the Sri Lankan spinners into the game. Noticeably their left-arm chinaman, who was the star for them today and picked up wickets on a regular basis,” said Behardien.

“It stunted our momentum going forward, we lost wickets at crucial moments and couldn’t build any partnerships, which are crucial on a slow wicket, it’s difficult for the new batters coming in,” he added.

The third and final T20 decider will be played at Newlands, Cape Town, on Wednesday 25th January.

Image: Sri Lanka celebrate David Miller's wicket.