South Africa and Sri Lanka will renew hostilities on Tuesday when the sides clash at Newlands in Cape Town.
It’s all getting a bit embarrassing for Sri Lanka now as they slumped to their third defeat of the ODI series at the Wanderers. That’s three consecutive matches where the Asians have failed to score more than 200 runs.
We can probably expect more of the same heading into the Cape Town ODI on Tuesday. It’s no longer a question of whether or not the Proteas can live up to their billing as favourites, but rather how heavy the the victory is likely to be.
South Africa vs Sri Lanka | Tuesday 7 February | Newlands, Cape Town | 13:30
To Win Match
South Africa 1/10 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 6/1
The Proteas have cruised through the first three matches of this series without really having to get out of second gear. Don’t get me wrong, the hosts have played well, with performances from Imran Tahir, David Miller, Faf du Plessis and Dwaine Pretorius catching the eye; but the lack of fight from the opposition has added unnecessary shine to the South Africa victories.
With the series wrapped up and the Sri Lankans falling apart, I’d like to see the South African management give Tabraiz Shamsi and Farhaan Behardien the last two matches of the series to show their wares. The two have been on the periphery during this series and probably deserve a crack with a tour of New Zealand on the horizon.
Russell Domingo will no doubt want to see his team get rid of the sloppiness that could have cost them in a closer affair. Dropped catches and poor running between the wickets will prove costly against New Zealand and England in the coming months.
Looking ahead, I’d like to see South Africa bat first and put on a big score. The likes of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and AB de Villiers could all do with big hundreds. We could also see Shamsi come in to operate along with Tahir, although that seems unlikely.
I’d like to see Domingo play around with his options a bit here. Sri Lanka are the weakest they’ve been in years – this is a good opportunity to test different combinations with a major ICC event taking place later this year.
Where to now for Sri Lanka? Without the stability that Angelo Matthews brings, the Asians simply aren’t able to cope away from home. They’ve been blown away in spectacular fashion by the South Africans in the last three ODIs – a trend that looks likely to continue in Cape Town.
It’s not even about whether or not the Sri Lankans can win a game in this series now. It’s about being competitive at a bare minimum. You can’t have the likes of Pretorius – with all due respect to him – run through your batting line-up.
They lost all 10 of their wickets for just 103 runs in a collapse that has characterised their stay in the republic. They’ve been unable to get at the South African bowlers who haven’t really needed to bowl out of their skin to get wickets.
I’m not really sure where Graham Ford can go from here. His senior players aren’t performing and the batsmen – who by all accounts are good players of spin – seem unable to play Imran Tahir at all. Andile Phelukwayo picked up two wickets with two pretty average balls while Pretorius isn't really the sort of player who should be keeping a full member batting line-up quiet. It'll be interesting to see how they hold up in Cape Town and a slower, lower wicket.
Verdict: South Africa 1/10
There is absolutely no value here at 1/10, but I simply don’t see any other result. The Sri Lankans have just been so bad in the ODI segment of this tour. You can be pretty confident with a sizey stake here.
Value Bet: A Hundred to be scored in the match: No at 11/10
This is a bit of a risky bet as we’re banking on Sri Lanka batting first. The Asians haven’t managed to muster a total of more than 200 while none of their batsmen have scored a century. If they post 150-180, it doesn’t leave the South African batsmen with much room to make centuries of their own. A risky one here, but worth a small punt at just over even money.