Your essential guide to the fourth ODI between the Proteas and Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. 

Scene-setter

The Proteas hunt a consecutive 5-0 win over Sri Lanka. The last time the sides clashed, it was in South Africa in 2017 and the Proteas cruised through all five ODIs to claim a rightful 5-0 victory.

The star last time out was Faf du Plessis, whose 410 runs ensured the Proteas remained on top throughout the series. Unfortunately, his tour has been cut short after picking up a shoulder injury in the third ODI.

ALSO READ: Top five stars in SL whitewash

Quinton de Kock skippered the side in the absence of Du Plessis, as the Proteas sealed the series with a 78-run win at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. He will captain the side again for the remaining ODIs.

ALSO READ: De Kock to skipper Proteas

In the last ODI series – against India in South Africa – Du Plessis too was unavailable for the series. The responsibility as captain was heaved on to Aiden Markram, who had a horrid time – where his performance and results were concerned – in a 5-1 drubbing against the world No 2 side.

Markram was dropped – or as Du Plessis said ‘rested’ – for the last match, in what has been a daunting tour for the 23-year-old thus far. Markram’s struggles on the tour of Sri Lanka, in Tests and ODIs, is said to be the main reason for De Kock’s appointment, as he aims to find his feet.

Reeza Hendricks’ phenomenal performance – that saw him hit a maiden ODI ton on debut – should shield him from the drop after replacing Markram at No 3 in the third ODI.

Sri Lanka will hope they can break their losing streak of 10 matches at home.

Players to watch

The captain’s replacement will be the only player with a point to prove. Although selectors have hinted at Markram’s reselection, Heinrich Klaasen is still an option. Both players will be vying for their spot in the side and will have the perfect flat wicket to play their natural game freely.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews spoke after their defeat about the pitch conditions, saying that he wanted his team to learn how to win on even wickets and not on the usual dusty turning wickets that the subcontinent is known for. This indicates that a similar wicket will be prepared, which suits batting.

Sri Lanka need all their players to step up. They have been sub-par with the bat and ball. Whether they stay with the same XI or not will be the question. Dhananjaya de Silva came in and looked phenomenal for his 84 off 66 balls and could be difficult to stop once again come Wednesday, while Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera also pose a threat.

Probable XIs

Proteas XI

1. Hashim Amla
2. Quinton de Kock
3. Reeza Hendricks
4. Aiden Markram
5. JP Duminy
6. David Miller
7. Wiaan Mulder
8. Andile Phehlukwayo
9. Kagiso Rabada
10. Tabraiz Shamsi
11. Lungi Ngidi

Sri Lanka XI

1. Niroshan Dickwella
2. Upul Tharanga
3. Kusal Mendis
4. Kusal Perera
5. Angelo Mathews (c)
6. Thisara Perera
7. Shehan Jayasuriya
8. Akila Dananjaya
9. Suranga Lakmal
10. Lakshan Sandakan
11. Lahiru Kumara

Stats pack: 

– Sri Lanka have lost their last 11 ODIs against the Proteas.
– The Proteas have played Sri Lanka four times at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Besides their victory on Sunday, the visitors won in July 2013. Sri Lanka won the other two in July 2014.
– Hendricks and Hashim Amla are the only South Africans to have scored centuries on the ground. Amla’s 101 came in an 87-run defeat in 2014.
– Sri Lanka have now lost nine series and drawn one out of their last 11 bilateral ODI series.

The fourth ODI starts on Wednesday at 11am SAST. 

Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

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