Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 86 runs from 90 balls and Lasith Malinga took four wickets as Sri Lanka beat South Africa in Pallekele to level their three-match series at 1-1.
After the hosts opted to bat first, Hashim Amla recorded a century in reply, but it was not enough to produce a Proteas victory, as only two of his teammates made it to double figures.
As a result, Angelo Mathews’ side will take the ODI series into the final game in Hambantota on Saturday.
First strike Sri Lanka
Having won the toss, Mathews decided to have a bat, and Dilshan did his best to justify that decision. He didn’t receive great support from Kushal Perera (7) or Kumar Sangakkara (7) though.
But he did set a strong foundation for the Sri Lankan innings, scoring nine boundaries on his way to 86. A 62-run partnership for the third wicket was brought to an end when Lahiru Thirimanne was bowled by Imran Tahir and caught by Amla for 36.
And Dilshan wasn’t far behind him on his way back to pavilion, being bowled by JP Duminy with his team on 154-4.
The home side then enjoyed a strong period with the skipper and his predecessor, Mahela Jayawardene at the crease.
Jayawardene (48) and Mathews (34) progressed the total along nicely, prior to a Ryan McLaren surge of wickets.
The former Kent bowler ended the day with figures of 4-48 from his allotted overs, which were aided by him taking three wickets within one over.
After Mathews edged behind to Quinton de Kock, McLaren then had Nuwan Kulasekara and Ashan Priyanjan removed within consecutive deliveries in the 47th over.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka were all out for 267 in their final over – a total that their opponents never got near.
Amla’s second century of the series was this time in vain as he regularly watched his batting partners traipsing away from the middle. Unlike McLaren, the majority of Malinga’s wickets removed top-order batsmen.
Malinga on fire
He began by dismissing de Kock (4) and Jacques Kallis (1) before Dilshan complimented his own all-round ability by adding three wickets to his day’s work.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers attempted to play his side out of trouble and guide them to victory, but he was undone by the spinner on 29, which sparked a collapse.
After his demise, the only other man to offer Amla any significant support was Dale Steyn. The fast bowler scored 23 and shared a stand of 53 for the eighth wicket, before Malinga removed the opener for 101.
Morne Morkel and Steyn soon fell to hand an 87-run victory to Sri Lanka with more than 11 overs to spare.
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