The Castle Lager Proteas excelled with both ball and in the field but once again their batting came up well short as they went down by 17 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method to Sri Lanka in the second of five ODI’s at Colombo on Tuesday. They now trail 2-0 in the series.
The Proteas may have been harshly treated by the D/L method which saw their target reduced by only 50 runs in spite of losing 21 overs but it was still very gettable with a run rate of six to the over required over 29 overs.
They were also not helped by the mishap suffered by Hashim Amla in the 43rd over of Sri Lanka’s innings when he suffered a groin injury in attempting a diving boundary save in vain. He was immediately replaced by Colin Ingram in the field and was not able to take his normal batting place at the top of the order.
But the fact remains that the form of the top order is disconcerting at the moment as they struggled to 104/5 before the rain returned to cut their reduced innings eight overs short.
By contrast the Proteas bowled and fielded extremely well. There were two brilliant diving catches by AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis and the overall standard of the ground fielding was very good as well.
Morne Morkel led the attack exceptionally well, taking 3/34 in his full complement of 10 overs while Robin Peterson, renewing his love affair with the new ball on the sub-continent, also bowled impressively.
De Villiers had introduced all five his specialist bowlers into the attack by the time 11 overs had been bowled and they, in fact, sent down 47 dot balls in the first 10 overs to restrict Sri Lanka to 38/1 in the opening power play.
The Proteas were, in fact, ahead after the completion of their own power play when they reached 39/1 in six overs but their batting fell apart thereafter.
Sri Lanka also lost wickets at regular intervals in posting their total of 223/9 in 49.2 overs but their captain, Dinesh Chandimal, and Tillekeratne Dilshan both made 43 runs and the former was rewarded by being named Man of the Match.
The third match in the series takes place on Friday with the Proteas needing to win all three the remaining matches to take the series.