South Africa created history by defeating Sri Lanka 2-1 in the latter’s own backyard in the three-match one day series, thus registering their maiden ODI series win in the island nation. Here’s a look at the top performers in the series.
Hashim Amla: Without any doubt, the South African opener, and now Test skipper, was the star of the tournament. He did not register a single failure in the series, finishing with 258 runs from three matches at an average of 86 with two centuries. Amla maintained a strike rate of 88 in the series, and finished with a brilliant average of 86. Amla made109 in the series opener at Colombo, followed with a fighting 101 in a losing cause at Pallekele, and finished the tournament with 48 at Hambantota, more than enough to give him the man of the series award.
AB de Villiers: The South African one-day skipper led from the front with the bat for his side. Apart from Amla, he was the only other player to cross 200 runs in the series. He made 212 runs in the series at a brilliant strike rate of 116.4 with one hundred and one fifty. AB’s average in the series was also excellent at 70.6. The Proteas skipper began the series with 75 at Colomba, made 29 in the loss at Pallekele and finished off with 108 at Hambantota to lead South Africa to a historic win.
Quinton de Kock: The South African opener had only one score of note in the series, but it was so significant that it leapfrogged de Kock directly to the third sport among the top run-getters in the series. In the game that mattered the most, de Kock came up with a fluent 128 to help South Africa post a 330 plus score at Hambantota. He finished the series with 159 runs at a strike rate of 94.6. de Kock averaged 53 in the series with one hundred. His other scores in the series were 27 and 4.
Ryan McLaren: Without doubt, the medium pacer was the most impressive bowler during the course of the three matches. He picked up nine wickets at an average of 13.1 with an impressive economy rate of 4.9 and a strike rate of 16. McLaren finished with 2 for 33 at Colombo, picked up 4 for 48 at Pallekele even as South Africa lost, and finished the series with 3 for 37 at Hambantota.
Ajantha Mendis: Hewasthe only Sri Lankan to make some sort of impact on the South African batsmen, apart from Tillakaratne Dilshan at Pallekele. Mendis claimed 7 wickets at an average of 18.1. His economy rate was slightly high at 5.5 while his economy rate in the series was 19.8. Mendis claimed 3 for 61 in the opening game at Colombo, had figures of 2 for 18 at Pallekele, and finished the series with 2 for 48 at Hambantota, not enough to help Sri Lanka to a series win.
--By A Cricket Analyst