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20-Jan-2012 05:16:00 GMT
South Africa v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Kimberley

Sri Lanka Look First Victory in ODI Series

Kimberley: Proteas look for a whitewash while the so far toothless Lankans look to muster a win. A big score will be the key to the team batting first on a high scoring Kimberly pitch.

The Sri Lankan cricket team not only has run out of form of late, but also found themselves on the wrong end of mother nature's tantrum during the 3rd ODI of the Sunfoil series against South Africa in Bloemfontein.

The worn out Lankan team have nothing left but to save face with a victory in the 4th ODI set to take place at the De Beers Diamond Oval. The Proteas, needless to say, will look to push Lanka lower by improving their series figures to 4-0.

Test skipper Graeme Smith probably has two more innings to save his one-day career. With Alviro Petersen showing signs that he can take his Test form into the fifty-over format, and Hashim Amla set to return from paternity leave at the end of the series, the axe is hovering over Smith. He has shown a lack of confidence at the crease and has not been able to get going. He needs to soon to prolong his limited-overs career.

South Africa are spoilt for choice, particularly in the bowling department. Dale Steyn will be rested for the remaining matches and Wayne Parnell will play. Vernon Philander may get the nod ahead of Morne Morkel, but Johan Botha is unlikely to replace Robin Peterson. The batting line-up will remain the same, with the No. 4 position flexible.

Du Plessis said : "(I am) very grateful to AB and Kirsten to have promoted me. The series win is a very big achievement for us. I was suffering from cramps and it became a bit serious. The track was playing nice and with AB there, we were very confident. We really want to make it 5-0."

At 24, Angelo Mathews appears to have an inordinate amount of responsibility. Not only is he Sri Lanka's vice-captain but he also has to play the role of leading allrounder. He hasn't starred in either role so far. What is evident is that he has the ability to, and has two more opportunities to show South Africa his skills.

Mahela Jayawardene has been ruled out for the next few weeks with a back injury. Lahiru Thirimanne will play in his place, although his position in the line-up has not been decided. Sachithra Senanayake has arrived in South Africa and trained with the team, but Sri Lanka are yet to decide if two spinners is a viable option at this venue.

One of the very few reasons that the Lankan team can be happy about is that their top order clicked during the 3rd ODI. Though none of the batsmen could bat longer than Upul Tharanga (58 off 65), all of the batters managed to get starts, which means that there is still life in the so far spineless lineup. Kumar Sangakkara managed a tasty 38 off 37 balls while Nuwan Kulasekara romped a quick 40 before being bowled out by Morkel. Dinesh Chandimal can always surprise the bowlers depending on the situation. Mahela Jayawardhane would want to make a plausible contribution to the scorecard at Kimberly.

Teams from

South Africa AB de Villiers (capt & wk), GC Smith, AN Petersen, JP Duminy, F du Plessis, CA Ingram, JA Morkel, M Morkel, WD Parnell, RJ Peterson, VD Philander, DW Steyn, J Botha, LL Tsotsobe

Sri Lanka TM Dilshan (capt), WU Tharanga, KC Sangakkara (wk), DPMD Jayawardene, LD Chandimal (wk), AD Mathews, CRD Fernando, HMRKB Herath, CKB Kulasekara, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga, NLTC Perera, KTGD Prasad, SMSM Senanayake, HDRL Thirimanne

Pitch and conditions
Although the ground staff left some grass on the Kimberley pitch, the sun will probably bake it into a flat wicket by match time. Temperatures are hotter than in Bloemfontein and both sides can expect to sweat.

Stats and trivia
South Africa have won five out of five matches in Kimberley and they chased in all of them. In their only game against Sri Lanka here, in 2002, South Africa won by 8 wickets.
In ten matches at this venue, the fast bowlers have taken 99 wickets at 30.56, while spinners have only 17 wickets at 58.11.
Match facts
January 20, 2012 (day/night)
Start time 1430 local (1230 GMT, 18:00 SL)

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