Beleaguered Sri Lanka Seek to Salvage Pride as…

South Africa will be under the new leadership of Quinton de Kock when they take on Sri Lanka in the fourth One-Day International at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. The appointment came after Faf du Plessis, the regular skipper, was ruled out of the rest of the series after injuring his shoulder in the third ODI of the five-match series.

There has been an air of ruthlessness in South Africa’s performances in the 50-over series, far from their abysmal show in the preceding two Tests. The visiting side have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series which will help de Kock calm his nerves in his international captaincy debut.

“To be honest, I am feeling quite nervous, it is an honour to be given this responsibility of captaining the Proteas,” said the South African wicket-keeper batsman. “I want to carry on where Faf has left off and to continue with his legacy. As a captain, I will try to stay true to myself and stay true to what I believe it takes to be a good leader. I will strive to help others going forward, just to be there as a captain.

“The team performance at the moment speaks for itself,” he said of the 3-0 lead. “Everybody is doing something right at the moment. Everyone is chipping in, the batsmen are scoring runs, the bowlers are taking wickets and the fielding has been on top. We will try to keep the standard of cricket that we have going for the next two ODI’s.”

South Africa have looked excellent in all departments in the first three games. While it was their bowlers who set up wins in the opening two encounters, Reeza Hendricks, the debutant, and JP Duminy, who will fill in for du Plessis as captain in the one-off Twenty20 International, blasted the Sri Lankan bowlers all around the park to help the visitors finish on a strong 363 for 7. In reply, the hosts were bundled out for 285.

The fast bowling duo of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi have managed to pick up wickets in the first 10 overs, while Tabraiz Shamsi has caused decent amount of damage during the middle phase.

Meanwhile, the story has been completely opposite for Sri Lanka. The Angelo Mathews-led side have been below par with the bat, while their bowlers, except for Akila Dananjaya, have hardly cost any threat to the South African batsmen. Mathews, Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Perera have done well in the patches, but have failed to click as a unit.

Having already conceded the series, Sri Lanka will look to salvage some pride by winning the remaining two encounters. However, South Africa will try to make sure the hosts suffer the same fate they did in the Test series.

Squads

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya.

South Africa: Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock (capt/wk), Jean-Paul Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.