South Africa took control of their ODI series with Sri Lanka in midweek when they won the second game to go 2-0 up with three matches remaining. They get their first chance to land the series outright on Sunday when the two sides meet in Pallekele.
Sri Lanka went into the series on a high after dominating the Test matches but they have failed to build on that here. With that in mind they will be itching to keep the series alive with a strong performance.
I wonder if Sri Lanka are getting to the stage where they are getting concerned with their ODI performances. If they were struggling or inconsistent with one facet of the game then you could accept it and work on it but so far in this series they have produced a bad performance with the bat and then one in the field.
If the Sri Lankans can put a whole performance together then we saw in the Test matches that they have the beating of South Africa but they must find a way of building on their good starts with the bat because their bowling and fielding so far has left plenty of room for improvement. They have the batsmen capable of doing that though.
Credit must go to the Proteas for the way they have bounced back in this series after the disaster of the Test matches. The big difference has been with the bat where they have found a way to combat the spinners and make hay against the seamers. They have produced two solid batting performances and the best thing is they look to have more to come too.
The slower bowlers for South Africa have also come to the party in this series and with the class of seamer such as Kagiso Rabada in their ranks that is never a bad thing. If South Africa can win the series here then they can rest and rotate their squad for the final two matches ahead of the mountain of cricket to come over the winter.
Sri Lanka are toying with the idea of playing Dhananjaya de Silva over Shehan Jayasuriya but there is no guarantee they will make that switch. They remain without Dinesh Chandimal who remains suspended.
South Africa are expected to name an unchanged side which means that Wiaan Mulder is expected to continue as the all-rounder in the side. Lundi Ngidi should continue as Rabada’s new ball partner.
There have been 20 ODIs at Pallekele but only three of them have seen scores of 300 in it and I’m not convinced Sri Lanka are going well enough to make this a high scoring match. We are in rainy season in this part of the world so there could be a lot of stopping and starting which won’t help batting either.
Both matches in Dambulla were low scoring matches and this is generally a lower scoring ground than that one so I’m expecting under 529.5 runs in this one with both sides likely to think 250 is a good score and one that they can defend.
Back Under 529.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Bet365