SA A beat Sri Lanka A at the Maritzburg Oval

2008-09-21 00:00

SOUTH Africa A levelled the five-match MTN One-Day Series 1-1 against Sri Lanka via a three-wicket victory with 10 balls to spare in front of a pitifully poor crowd at the Maritzburg Oval yesterday.

The second match looked to have tilted Sri Lanka’s way until youngsters Dean Elgar and Wayne Parnell steadied the ship with an eighth-wicket partnership of 48 that steered SA home. Elgar’s unbeaten 86 off 93 deliveries with eight fours was the decisive performance.

A crowd of about 80 at 1.30 pm and no better than 100-odd later on saw Sri Lanka’s fielding not in the same class as SA and it cost the tourists precious runs and wickets.

SA left-arm opening bowler Yusuf Abdullah, who rose to prominence initially from Dundee in northern KZN, was most impressive. Looking fit, he added value to his pace with a full repertoire of deliveries whose variety succeeded in troubling all the Sri Lanka top-order batsmen.

Showcasing a well-concealed short ball, dipping yorker, swing through the air and movement off the pitch, the Dundee Express (one of the easygoing Abdullah’s nicknames) was extremely unlucky not to realise better figures than three for 36 in his maximum 10 overs.

Abdullah is knocking on Proteas coach Mickey Arthur’s door with authority and deserves a chance at the highest level, even if only in the limited-overs arena initially.

Of the others, Abdullah’s fellow Dolphin Johann Louw was the most impressive of a mediocre bunch.

SA opener Gulam Bodi batted with supreme confidence, his hand speed through the ball ensuring he hit harder than anyone else, delivering several scorching boundaries and a quick-fire six in an innings that saw several strokes out of the top drawer. In all, Bodi made 66 with nine fours and a six off 88 balls.

At 109 for four Sri Lanka were in trouble, but theirs is a spirited side and a solid 100 partnership between Kaushal Silva (81) and Angelo Mathews (53 retired hurt) gave their bowlers a reasonable total to bowl at. And it may well have been had Bodi and Elgar not come to the party.

The third match is in East London on Wednesday.

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