South Africa's chance to pile on more misery on Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s record against South Africa in the last ten ODIs is pretty disappointing. They’ve now lost all ten games and will hope to buck the trend when they take on the visitors in the third match of the five-match series in Pallekele. Sri Lanka need a win, not only to gain some confidence, but also to keep the series alive.

Once South Africa were humbled in the Test series, the Sri Lankan fans would have hoped for a repeat for that. However, fair pitches being prepared for an even contest between bat and ball have led to the hosts struggling. To rectify the damage done, Sri Lanka need to things – runs from their batsmen and a bowler to produce an inspiring performance.

Scores of 193 and 244 – in the current scenario in ODI cricket – will not get you anywhere. In both games, the hosts have been dented early by the South African pacers and they failed to recover from that. Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella made promising half-centuries in the second game but waged lonely battles as the batting crumbled.

On the bowling front, Akila Dananjaya has picked up three wickets in each of the first two games but found little support from others. After the second game, Mathews compared his players to a bunch of amateur school kids because of the repetitive mistakes they’ve made. In the second ODI, they dropped three catches inside the first six overs of the chase and that ended up costing them the game.

South Africa have been clinical in the first two games and will hope for another such performance led by their pacers. Things have been fairly straightforward for them and to win the series it’ll be crucial for them to play spin better.

What: Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 3rd ODI, 10am local time

Where: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele

What to expect: Rain is forecast during the day and is likely to impact the length of the game.

Team news:

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis’s failures in the first two games have hurt Sri Lanka’s chances because they haven’t been able to get off to a good start. They handed debuts to two players in the last game and will continue to stick to the same playing XI to maintain some continuity. This is also a wonderful opportunity for them to find the ideal XI ahead of next year’s World Cup.

South Africa: With all departments functioning smoothly, there’s no need for South Africa to change the playing XI.

What they said:

“If we want to win a match, we can’t make so many mistakes. Maybe you can make two or three mistakes and fix those things within the game itself and win the match. But if you make mistakes through the match, it’s hard to win” – Niroshan Dickwella.

“Coming now into white ball, change of format, starting to add some value to the team is always nice. It’s great also to be on the winning side in Sri Lanka, so all things are good at the moment” – Quinton de Kock.

Teams (from):

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews(c), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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