Twin tons ensure series win for South Africa

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Quickfire centuries from opening batsman Quinton de Kock and captain AB de Villiers saw South Africa achieve a convicting 82-run win – and two-one series triumph – over Sri Lanka in Saturday's third and final ODI at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.

Quickfire centuries from opening batsman Quinton de Kock and captain AB de Villiers saw South Africa achieve a convicting 82-run win – and two-one series triumph – over Sri Lanka in Saturday's third and final ODI at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.

Outdone in the second fixture in Pallekele earlier this week, the Proteas obliged de Villiers' request for a decidedly stronger batting performance handsomely. Leading from the front entirely, the hard-hitting right-hander struck all of 11 fours and a quartet of sixes en route to an entertaining 108.

De Kock, meanwhile, moved to a brisk 128. Cherishing a dozen boundaries and a trio of sixes, the talented left-hander shared 100-plus partnerships with fellow opener Hashim Amla and the skipper.

The veteran Jacques Kallis capped a disappointing tour by falling for a mere four. The stalwart right-hander, who recently retired from the longest format of the international game to prolong a prolific limited-overs career, perished for a duck and a single in the preceding matches.

The Sri Lankans were, arguably, over reliant on the spin bowlers. The recalled Rangana Herath, all-rounder Tillakaratne Dilshan, burgeoning Sachithra Senanayake and experienced Ajantha Mendis struggled in conditions substantially less conducive to turn than Pallekele and Colombo.

The pursuit, too, was rather stop start. Dilshan, the hard-hitting Kusal Perara, former captain Kumar Sangakkara and the left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne gathered promising starts – but failed to convert to Amla – or de Kock-esque substance.

Seamer Ryan McLaren proved the pick of the bowlers en route to telling figures of three for 37. He was well supported by slow bowler JP Duminy's brace. The recalled Wayne Parnell and pace ace Dale Steyn, who bruised a hand in Pallekele, were expensive and largely unsuccessful.

Sri Lanka's insufficient total of 257 all out, in fact, would have read much less – hand captain Angelo Mathews and sidekick Ashan Priyanjan not shared a rearguard 83-run stand inside 16 overs for the sixth wicket.

A proud de Villiers was named Man of the Match, while Amla took the Player of the Series accolade in the wake of 258 runs in three fixtures, including two tons. Sri Lanka and South Africa will meet for two Tests – at the Galle International Cricket Stadium and Sinhalese Sports Club – between 16 and 28 July.

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