Bloemfontein: Neil McKenzie, with a steady unbeaten 70, helped South Africa to a six-wicket victory in the fifth and final one-dayer against Sri Lanka on Friday, thereby winning the series 4-1.
Chasing 229 for victory, South Africa reached their target in 45.1 overs. Shaun Pollock was declared the Man of the Match and Jacques Kallis Man of the Series.
Boeta Dippenaar (36) and McKenzie shared an 88-run partnership after Herschelle Gibbs had laid a solid foundation with 47. Jonty Rhodes remained unbeaten on 25.
Earlier, Monde Zondeki struck with his first ball in international cricket when he removed Lankan opener Maravan Atapattu (53), caught instinctively at first slip by Andrew Hall after wicketkeeper Mark Boucher juggled the ball. Although he played a poor shot to get out, Atapattu’s class shone through another below par batting display in the series by the Lankans. The right hander faced 63 balls and struck eight boundaries in a fluent and authoritative innings.
Sanath Jayasuriya’s decision to bat first on a lively track looked to have backfired early as Sri Lanka slumped to seven for two, the Lankan captain making just two before carving Allan Donald to point and veteran Aravinda de Silva was caught behind off Shaun Pollock for a duck.
Pollock struck again to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene (three), but after Zondeki’s sensational start, Kumar Sangakkara and Russel Arnold (36) rebuilt well with a fifth-wicket stand of 61.