Bandara bowls Lankans into finals

Hobart, February 7:

Sri Lanka’s Malinga Bandara lived up to the title of super-sub as he snared 4-31 to send South Africa spiralling out of the triangular series tournament at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval on Tuesday.

The South Africans surrendered what a week ago had seemed like a certain place in the best-of-three finals against Australia, losing their last seven wickets for 68 to go down by 76 runs.

Sri Lanka had earlier set them a modest total of 257-9 on an excellent batting wicket after getting off to a solid start.

It was South Africa’s third straight loss and it came on the day that captain Graeme Smith finally found some touch. Smith reached his first half-century of the series, making 67 off 76 balls, but was let-down miserably by the rest of his team.

Number three Herschelle Gibbs and the big-hitting Justin Kemp both were out for ducks while Mark Boucher with 24 and Ashwell Prince (22) made starts but couldn’t press ahead.

While Bandara claimed four valuable wickets, it was veteran paceman Chaminda Vaas who made the big breakthrough, trapping dangerman Boeta Dippenaar leg before wicket for nine just two balls into the seventh over. Three balls later he sucked in Gibbs, who spooned a catch back to him.

In the end, the absence of injured key strike bowlers Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis for most of the series proved too much for South Africa to carry.

Allrounder Andrew Hall who took 3-50 and the economical Shaun Pollock with 1-35 worked hard to fill the gaps and were well supported by Johan van der Wath and Charl Langeveldt with 2-41 and 2-47 respectively.

The main glitch was an expensive 0-32 off three overs by the inexperienced Dale Steyne, who was subsequently subbed for spinner Johan Botha. It allowed the Sri Lankans to settle in to a good start, although their later batting also proved brittle.

Botha banned for illegal action

LONDON: South African off-spinner Johan Botha has been suspended from international cricket after the ICC ruled that he had been bowling with an illegal action.

The ban was imposed after independent analysis of Botha’s deliveries during South Africa’s third Test against Australia in January. ICC General Manager David Richardson, said that the ban would apply until Botha could show he had remedied his action. — AFP