Sri Lanka in SA

Smith form a relief for AB

2012-01-23 11:20
Graeme Smith (Gallo)

Johannesburg - AB de Villiers may have been named man-of-the-series after South Africa concluded their battle against Sri Lanka on Sunday, but the Proteas captain was a happy man for another reason.

GALLERY: SA v SL - 5th ODI

His predecessor and close friend Graeme Smith had returned to form and showed his hand with a fine 125 off 143 balls.

It was not enough to win the fifth Sunfoil one-day international as they went down by two wickets at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, but De Villiers was just thrilled with himself for having never lost belief in Smith.

“I told the press that he was going to come through, and I'm very happy for my man,” the skipper said afterward. “Biff did extremely well.

“His feet are still on the ground but deep inside I can see that he is very proud and we are all very proud of him. That's the least he deserved today.”

Smith’s century was the first in over two years, with his last one coming against England during the 2009 Champions Trophy.

It also came on the back of his highest score in 18 innings in the previous game at Kimberley on Friday night.

Smith made a determined 68 in that game and it was the first step towards silencing his critics, with his knock in Johannesburg then showing he is still one of the most dangerous openers around.

For his part, De Villiers struck a flamboyant 125 off 98 balls as South Africa racked up an imposing 312 for four.

But the Proteas’ weakened attack, minus the rested Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis, found Sri Lanka in a daunting mood as they chased down the total with a ball to spare, thanks to Kumar Sangakkara (102) and Lahiru Thirimanne (69).

De Villiers, whose side won the series 3-2, added: “Things have been going my way and I’m delighted with my form at the moment.

“We have a lot to work on before touring New Zealand next month, but I am very happy with the way the team fought to the end.”

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan was pleased with the way his side had come back in the last two games, especially after their mauling at Paarl to start the series.

“We came back strongly at the end of our tour and needed to prove a point after being bowled out for 43 in the first ODI,” he said.

“Chasing 313 runs for victory meant it was always going to be tight and I am so proud of my team.

“We had a fantastic time in South Africa and it was just a pity that we lost the test and one-day series narrowly.”

Despite their defeats in both legs of the tour, the Sri Lankans can take a lot of heart as they also became the first team from their land to win a test match in South Africa after they thrashed the hosts in Durban to draw level at 1-1.

Dilshan, who possibly captained the team for the last time after an overhaul of cricket administration in that country over the past week,

added: “Before we came here everyone thought we were the underdog but we proved we are one of the best sides in the world, especially in one-dayers.

“Hopefully, we can carry this performance into the next few tours.”

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
41 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 December 2017
South Africa v Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth 10:00
Friday, 05 January 2018
South Africa v India, Cape Town 10:00
Saturday, 13 January 2018
South Africa v India, Centurion 10:00
Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

Which of SA's sporting codes is in the worst shape after recent scandals?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.