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South Africa wrap up series

Kimberley: Herschelle Gibbs struck his 11th one-day hundred as South Africa won the fourth one-day International against Sri Lanka by eight wickets on Wednesday and took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.

Chasing just 185 for victory, South Africa made 190 for two in the 31st over, with Gibbs and Jacques Kallis unbeaten on 108 and 64 respectively. Their unbroken partnership for the third wicket was worth 172 runs.

Gibbs and Kallis came together with South Africa on 18 for two following the loss of both Andrew Hall (2) and Neil McKenzie (7).

After Gibbs was put down by Russel Arnold at point, when he offered a tough chance on 19, the partnership quickly flowered. Gibbs accelerated towards the end of the run chase and reached his hundred with a six over mid-on off Chaminda Vaas before he won the match with another six off Sanath Jayasuriya. He faced just 92 balls, smashing 14 fours and three sixes.

Kallis was happy to play second fiddle in the partnership with his 64 coming off 83 balls with five fours and a six.

Earlier, Allan Donald proved that he is still an important part of South Africa’s World Cup plans with a fine bowling display as Sri Lanka folded after a good start.

Donald, now 36, claimed three for 18 from his ten overs including four maidens, taking the important wickets of Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka’s healthy early momentum was stalled in the 11th over by the bizarre dismissal of Maravan Atapattu (37) with the score on 57.

Atapattu appeared in no danger as he sauntered back for a second run, but a casual back-hand flick by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher broke the wicket.

Television replays showed that neither Atapattu’s bat nor his feet were grounded and third umpire Brian Jerling gave him out.

After Kallis removed both Kumar Sangakkara (1) and Aravinda de Silva (0), Donald then struck twice.

First, Jayasuriya fell to a spectacular one-handed diving catch at mid-wicket by Neil McKenzie for 27 and when Jayawardene was trapped leg before for nine, Sri Lanka were 97 for five.

Russel Arnold and Hashan Tillekeratne added 34 for the sixth wicket but after Tillekeratne was bowled by Shaun Pollock for 18, South Africa steadily knocked over the Sri Lankan tail. Shaun Pollock finished with three wickets.

But Arnold then held up the South Africans with a rearguard action in his 100th one-day International, rotating the strike intelligently with last man Pulasthi Gunaratne in a partnership of 29 for the tenth wicket, before being the last man out for 50.

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