CAPE TOWN – Aiden Markram’s undefeated 67 was the shining light on a dark night – quite literally – for Newlands Cricket Ground.
South Africa won by 41 runs by virtue of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method after two pylons could not function due to a circuit system problem. The Proteas were 135/2 after 28 overs in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 225. It was enough to close out a second successive 5-0 whitewash of the islanders on home soil
Although most of the spectators had already left by the time the eventual call was made at 21:10, the most disappointed person would have been Markram.
The classy right-hander was in the process of putting in a late bid for World Cup selection and would have loved nothing more than to register his maiden ODI century. Instead, he had to be content with a career-best score and will now hope that he has done enough to book a ticket to England later this year.
Another young Protea, Anrich Nortje, auditioning for the World Cup had earlier done his chances no harm at all by putting the skids under the Sri Lanka’s batsmen once again.
Nortje bowled with good pace throughout, troubling all the visitors’ batsmen in the process, to finish with figures of 2/35 from his 9.3 overs.
The fast bowler received solid support from Kagiso Rabada (3/50) and leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2/33). The latter, who is retiring after the World Cup, certainly enjoyed his last ODI on home soil.
He celebrated both his wickets with customary gusto, while his performance after taking a catch in front of the Oaks grass banks will be remembered for some time.
Unfortunately for Cape Town cricket lovers, they were not able to see one of Newlands’ favourite sons, JP Duminy, play a final ODI innings on home soil. Duminy was the next batsman in after Rassie van der Dussen, who finished unbeaten on 28 not out off 37 balls.
He did bowl three overs at least, conceding 16 runs, but was not able to take a wicket. More importantly, though, Duminy’s shoulder came through yet another test and the all-rounder will be pleased it is getting stronger after every game ahead of the World Cup.