The Proteas made their superior talent count in the second ODI and levelled up the series, thanks to centurion Janneman Malan (121).
It sets up the stage for an exciting finale, although some would still question the logic of playing ODIs a month before the T20 World Cup. Could the forthcoming three-match T20I series not have been expanded to five games?
Anyway, South Africa will still take positives from the fact that their batting unit is clicking and producing loads of runs at the right time – even if it’s in a different format.
Apart from the batting feats, South Africa’s bowlers did very well too, successfully defending a revised target of 265 and bowling out Sri Lanka at just 197 to clinch a 67-run win.
Tabraiz Shamsi, wayward in the series opener, was the star of the show this time, picking up five wickets. Kagiso Rabada was also excellent after opening ODI nightmare as he picked up a pair of wickets for just 16 runs.
Sri Lankan bowlers were consistent in their effort as they allowed pretty much the same runs to South Africa as they had in the last game.
However, this time, their batting betrayed them big time. Series opener’s centurion hero Avishka Fernando managed a mere eight of 15 deliveries this time and none of the top four contributed more than 12.
By the time Dhananjaya de Silva departed in the 15th over with the scoreboard reading 61-4, the match was effectively over. Captain Dasun Shanaka (30) and Charith Asalanka (77 off 69) showed some resistance and so did Chamika Karunaratne (36) but the contributions that did not come from up top had caused too much damage to salvage anything.
Before the third ODI, a decision will have to be taken on whether or not to draft in former captain Kusal Perera to support a feeble batting unit.