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Cricket | SA Team

Faf's 185 too good for plucky SL



South Africa fought off a plucky Sri Lankan side to win the fourth one-day international by 40 runs at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday to take a 4-0 lead in the five-match series.

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Faf du Plessis scored his eighth ODI ton, a personal best of 185, as South Africa posted a Newlands record of 367 for five after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

But the Islanders fought bravely thanks to a century from their captain, Upul Tharanga, but were bowled out for 327 in reply in the penultimate over.

"Faf played an exceptional knock," said Proteas skipper AB de Villiers. "Tharanga also played a fantastic knock but there wasn't a lot of panic. I felt comfortable with the variety we had in our bowling."

The home side's innings was built around Du Plessis, who posted the highest individual score at Newlands and the second highest ever individual total by a South African in an ODI, falling just three runs short of equalling Gary Kirsten's score of 188 not out.

Du Plessis, who faced 141 deliveries and struck 16 fours and three sixes, found able partners in Quinton de Kock (55) and captian AB de Villiers (60) to propel the Proteas to a very daunting total.

Du Plessis and De Kock added 100 for the second wicket after Hashim Amla (1) had been dismissed early on by Lahiru Kumara (7-0-73-2).

FAF'S 185 OFF 141 BALLS

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Once De Kock departed, caught in the slips off the spin bowling of Sachith Pathirana (10-0-55-2) after facing 46 balls and striking seven boundaries and two sixes, Du Plessis was joined by De Villiers and the pair continued to build with a stand worth 137 for the third wicket.

"When you're feeling in good touch you've got to score big runs. That's my job," said Du Plessis, who said the partnerships with De Kock and De Villiers were crucial.

"Quinny was striking the ball nicely and that took the pressure off me, then AB was brilliant running between the wickets."

De Villiers was busy around the crease, turning singles into twos at will. De Villied faced 62 balls but only struck four boundaries. Farhaan Behardien joined Du Plessis after the departure of De Villiers and played the perfect back-end innings, striking four boundaries and a six to end unbeaten on 36 off just 20 balls.

The Sri Lankans made a positive start, scoring 100 off the first 10 overs as Niroshan Dickwella (58) and Tharanga (119) treated the South African attack with disdain. The pair's opening stand was eventually broken on 139 when Dwaine Pretorius had Dickwella caught by Behardien after facing just 47 balls.

Dickwella had struck nine boundaries but it was the aggression of Tharanga that kept his side in the match.

The Sri Lankan captain struck 11 boundaries and seven maximums, facing just 90 deliveries while adding 64 for the second wicket with Kusal Mendis (29).

But the spirit of the chase was broken when Tharanga cut Wayne Parnell (9.1-0-58-4) straight to JP Duminy at point. Mendis, Tharanga and Dhananjaya de Silva (5) all departed in quick succession to leave the visitors 228 for four, but Sandun Weerakkody (58) and Asela Gunaratne (38) revived the chase with a stand of 79 off 60 balls for the fifth wicket.

"We needed to get a good start and it was a much better batting performance," said Tharanga. "Unfortunately we lost too many wickets later."

Weerakkody faced 51 balls, which included seven fours and a six, while Gunaratne struck three boundaries and a six in his 31-ball innings but when Gunaratne was caught at short mid-wicket by Amla off Kagiso Rabada (9-1-50-2), the camel's back broke.

Nuwan Kulasekara (1), Pathirana (1), Lahiru Madushanka (6) and Lakshan Sandakan (1) were all dismissed in the space of five overs to hand South Africa the victory.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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SOUTH AFRICA: Q de Kock (wk), HM Amla, F du Plessis, AB de Villiers (capt), JP Duminy, F Behardien, WD Parnell, D Pretorius, Imran Tahir, K Rabada, T Shamsi

SRI LANKA: N Dickwella (wk), DS Weerakkody, WU Tharanga (capt), BKG Mendis, DM de Silva, DAS Gunaratne, SS Pathirana, LD Madushanka, KMDN Kulasekara, PADLR Sandakan, CBRLS Kumara



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