| Atapattu: Unbeaten 123
Benoni: Maravan Atapattu made a fluent and unbeaten 123 to steer Sri Lanka to a seven wicket victory against South Africa on Sunday in the third one day International to keep the five-match series alive.
In pursuit of South Africa’s competitive 253 for seven, Atapattu and Aravinda de Silva put on a record Sri Lankan third wicket stand of 140 from 140 balls against the hosts to spur the visitors to 258 for three with 8.2 overs to spare.
The win was the first victory the tourists recorded since arriving in the country in October.
De Silva was eventually castled by Shaun Pollock for 71, but by then the tourists had moved within 41 runs of victory.
Earlier, Lance Klusener blasted 60 from 57 balls to lift both the asking rate beyond five an over, as well as boost his own chances of securing a place in next year’s World Cup squad. To achieve that total of 253, South Africa had to recover from a perilous 35 for four.
Kallis who made 87 helped haul South Africa out of trouble. He came to the wicket in the third over when Herschelle Gibbs was given a questionable leg before decision and watched from the non-striker’s end as a steady procession of South African batsmen trooped back to the pavilion.
Although the Sri Lankans bowled tidily, the South Africans really lost their wickets by playing a flurry of indifferent strokes.
After putting on 36 with Boucher to begin the recovery effort, Kallis added 81 for the sixth wicket with skipper Pollock.
“The batsmen have started to come right and we can give them a good fight in the next two games. But we have to improve our fielding because it was poor today in stages,” Jayasuriya said.
It was Atapattu’s seventh one day ton, which was scored off only 121 balls and included 15 fours and a six. “It was a good wicket and eased up after the morning,” Atapattu said. “But all credit to Aravinda for his performance.”
South Africa has dropped batsman Justin Ontong from the squad for the two remaining one- dayers. Slow left-arm Robin Peterson, also a hard-hitting lower order batsman, along with batsman Neil McKenzie, were added to the squad, increasing its size to 15 players. (Agencies)