All-round Dilshan sees Sri Lanka square series

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A superb performance from all-rounder Tillakaratne Dilshan carried Sri Lanka to a convincing 87-run victory over South Africa in Wednesday's second ODI at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

A superb performance from all-rounder Tillakaratne Dilshan carried Sri Lanka to a convincing 87-run victory over South Africa in Wednesday's second ODI at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Dilshan's quickfire half-century formed the backbone of a formidable total of 267 all out, after which three key wickets resigned the opposition to a severely insufficient 180 all out.

Dominant in Sunday's series opener at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, the Proteas endured a torrid turnaround, rendering batsman Hashim Amla's third consecutive century this tour redundant.

An unchanged South African XI eagerly built on Sunday's success, with leg-spinner Imran Tahir and all-rounder Ryan McLaren again proving pivotal. The former snared two wickets and the latter four, as the Sri Lankans' final five fell for just 11 runs.

The hard-hitting Dilshan's vigil spanned 90 deliveries and featured nine boundaries in front of an appreciative home crowd. Middle-order trio Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews, meanwhile, were at hand for a complementary 48, 36 and 34 respectively.

The response was in early trouble in the wake of opener Quinton de Kock and all-rounder Jacques Kallis' failures. The veteran Kallis' berth in the first-choice XI is becoming increasingly fragile, after just one run in two matches – and absolutely no contribution with the ball amid a back injury.

Skipper AB de Villiers' burst of defiance didn't last long enough and tail-ender Dale Steyn's fight through the closing throes were ultimately in vain. The cool, calm and collected Amla tried to keep the contest alive, but a lack of serious support took toll.

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga was the pick of the bowlers en route to figures of four for 24, lacing clever slower deliveries with outright pace. Dilshan's off-spin, meanwhile, gathered three for 40. He was, duly, named Man of the Match.

The third and final ODI will get underway at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. Two Tests – in Galle and Colombo – will follow.

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