The Pink Proteas clinched a series win in their third win in the ODI series at Wanderers last night. While Pink Day is known for the theatrics of AB de Villiers with his explosive batting, and of hitting breast cancer for a six, the day was certainly one that was buzzing with excitement from fans. It was also Faf du Plessis’ 100th ODI for South Africa. What better way to celebrate it by raising funds for breast cancer and raising awareness of the disease?
The Pink Proteas opted to bowl first against the Sri Lankans with changes of Wayne Parnell being rested bringing in all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and Farhaan Behardien replacing the injured David Miller (much to everyone’s displeasure) after he sustained a cut to his finger during the second ODI in Durban. The Proteas won the third ODI by 7 wickets with thanks to AB and JP Duminy grinding it out to put up a vital partnership of 72 runs to win the match and, essentially, the series. Man of the Match was presented to Dwaine Pretorius for his fantastic bowling figures, which are now his career best in ODIs, of 3-19 from 7 overs.
While Sri Lanka were batting, Niroshan Dickwella and stand-in captain Upul Tharanga put up a 1st wicket partnership of 60 runs before Tharanga was caught out off Kagiso Rabada by Pretorius. Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal fell one after the other, both only scoring 4 runs, when Andile Phehlukwayo struck within his allotted overs. This led to their batting order going into a slight collapse, only managing to put 162 runs when they were bowled out in the 39th over. This then left the Proteas with a total of 163 runs to chase.
Quinton de Kock was given a lifeline when Lahiru Kumara had bowled within the powerplay to trap him for lbw, only to find that it was pitching outside leg to keep him on the crease. He was unfortunate to be clean-bowled in the next delivery for 8. Hashim Amla was run out for 34 while trying to hold the innings together after du Plessis was caught for 24 off Lahiru Madushanka who made his debut. It was de Villiers and Duminy who carried South Africa home with 18 overs to spare. This win made it a fifth win out of five Pink Day One Day Internationals for South Africa.
A highlight of the Sri Lankan innings, or rather the whole match, was when the players were in the middle of their 25th over at 117-5 a swarm of bees had made their way onto the field, which forced players and umpires to take evasive action by lying on the ground for a couple of minutes, to the point where they had to be taken off the field for almost more than an hour. Groundsmen tried to lure the bees with a fire extinguisher, an open Coca-Cola can, and a bucket, but all failed as the bees still stayed on the field. A professional bee-keeper was called and came onto the field. He was welcomed with a roaring applause from the fans as once he sorted things out, play would resume which would lessen the chance of reduced overs for each team.
As a first time going to Pink Day, it did not really have that element of entertainment with many boundaries and sixes scored, as AB had admitted wishing he had batted first, it was still a relatively great day for the whole family and an awesome initiative by the Pink Drive where donations were given, hair was spray-painted pink, and stunning Pink Drive bracelets were on sale.
The Proteas upheld their special motto of never losing in pink to win the series, and if all goes according to plan with the rest of the matches in the series, South Africa will be number one in ICC ODI rankings as Australia are currently barely holding onto the number one spot since they lost the recent Chappell-Hadlee series to New Zealand 2-0 with the second match being rained out. New Zealand now have moved to third, a point ahead of India.
The fourth game between South Africa and Sri Lanka is in PPC Newlands in Cape Town and 13:30 South African time.