South Africa v Sri Lanka Fifth ODI: Time for a gamble on the tourists
Ed Hawkins analyses the final game of the series from Cape Town on Saturday with the hosts eyeing a whitewash...
"Newlands is one of the original toss bias venues in ODI cricket day-nighters. It’s not been one where you want to lose the toss"
South Africa v Sri Lanka
Saturday 16 March 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa strong
South Africa are one win away from a whitewash which will offer a few crumbs of comfort for the disastrous 2-0 defeat in the Test series. After that loss they have been surprised by how uncompetitive Sri Lanka have been.
The hosts had a wobble in Centurion when posting only 231 but the Sri Lankans showed zero aptitude for the chase, being bowled out for 138. More heavy defeats have followed, by 71 runs and six wickets at Durban and Port Elizabeth respectively.
There is no hint that they are taking their foot off the gas having revamped the squad to include JP Duminy, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. The latter didn't play last time out but he should come back in for Reeza Hendricks here.
Kagiso Rabada was given a rest and we expect the pace attack of Dale Steyn, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi to remain unchanged. Duminy plays his last ODI in South Africa after announcing his retirement post World Cup.
Sri Lankans shambolic
Chandika Hathurusingha, the Sri Lanka coach, will return home after this game and will miss the T20 series that follows. He will be asked to explain Sri Lanka's poor show.
It's pretty simple. Lasith Malinga is a captain he neither wanted nor asked for. The man he did want, experienced middle-order campaigner, Dinesh Chandimal, was axed from the squad.
Shambolic is the word. Before the World Cup this summer, Sri Lanka will hold a domestic four-team tournament to decide on their squad with each team captained by one of Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga and Malinga or Chandimal.
Tharanga, who is key to the team with so many experienced players missing, is having a stinker of a series. He failed again and Lanka are reliant on Kusal Mendis for runs with Kusal Perera injured. A small cheer for Dhananjaya De Silva, the offie, who took three wickets.
Huge toss bias
Newlands is one of the original toss bias venues in ODI cricket day-nighters. It's not been one where you want to lose the toss. You'll be chasing and more than likely end up miserable. In the last ten years only twice chasers have won out of seven. In all 31 day-nighters, seven have won. South Africa did chase down 240, though, set by Pakistan in January. The previous five first-dig scores read: 303-367-327-220-354. The 220 was the one successful chase, by India with only two wickets to spare in 2011.
South Africa strong
If South Africa are serious about tuning up for the World Cup in the best way possible it might not be a bad idea if they did chase here. They need to be tested and taking on the bias will provide that.
It's such a significant trend that Sri Lanka might be worth a nibble at [4.40]. We should still get [4.0] if they bat first. South Africa are [1.27].
Of course we know Sri Lanka are limited - so keep stakes sensible - but they should be competitive defending and we would be surprised if they were unable to take favourite status at some stage.
Du Plessis a fancy
Quinton de Kock put a poor record at Newlands behind him with 83 in that contest against Pakistan. He is 23/10 for top SA bat honours with Sportsbook. But the main man on this ground is Faf Du Plessis. He has 306 runs in five innings, including one century and two fifties. Du Plessis is 3/1. Amla gets a 7/2 quote but has an average of just 25. De Kock and Du Plessis are 5s and 8s respectively for man of the match.
Kusal and Thisara stand out
Isuru Udana's 78 from 57 ensured top-bat honours down at No 9 last time. He even won the man of the match award, which more than hints at how keen the South Africans are for some competitive action. He is 20/1 and 25/1 (Sportsbook) respectively for repeats. Kusal is the closest thing Lanka have to reliability and the 4s may be worth interest. We'd have him jolly. Thisara Perera is also worth a small stake at 19s.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Sri Lanka bat first [4.0] (0.5pts)