Proteas all but oust Lankans

Perth, January 31:

Sri Lanka’s batting went from sizzle to fizzle as South Africa all but ended their hopes of playing in the limited-overs triangular series finals with a five-wicket win here today. After a quickfire opening partnership of 94 off 97 balls between Sanath Jayasuriya and Jehan Mubarak, Sri Lanka lost their last eight wickets for 85 runs. They finished on a disappointing 221, with 14 balls remaining, and South Africa coasted to 224-5 off 45.1 overs in reply.

Jayusuriya made 86 from 65 balls, including nine boundaries and three sixes, before falling to a brilliant diving catch by Ashwell Prince at backward point off the bowling of South African skipper Graeme Smith. Smith claimed his best-ever one-day figures of 3-30 off 10 overs. The South Africans also got the flying start, thanks to Smith and Boeta Dippenaar, who guided them to 84 in the 17th over.

Smith fell for 41. He was the first of four dismissals in which Sangakkara was to figure, with Jacques Rudolph and Justin Kemp both stumped and Boeta Dippenaar also caught behind.

Dippenaar belted 87 runs off 94 balls. The Proteas suffered a mini-collapse, with Muralitharan playing a leading hand as they lost four middle-order wickets for 26. Muralitharan, who finished with 3-44, and Malinga Bandara with 2-47 thwarted that goal. Sri Lanka, on nine points, have just one match remaining while South Africa, on 12 points, have three.