Hambantota: Upbeat with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Twenty20 series, a rejuvenated South Africa will hope to sign off the tour with a clean sweep when they take on Sri Lanka in the third and the final game here on Tuesday.
South Africa, who suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of the hosts in the recently concluded ODI series, switched to the shortest format with intentions of revenge and showed their dominance in the first two T20s. Led by Faf du Plessis, the tourist are in the driving seat having wrapped up the series.
However, the top order's show will be a concern. Henry David, Quinton de Kock and skipper du Plessis are there to bolster the side with their good hitting techniques but the trio has failed to deliver in the first two games. A lot will be expected from them in the final game.
As far as the middle order is concerned, JP Duminy has been tremendous. He scored 51 off 52 balls in the first match to clinch victory in a low scoring tie and was adjudged Man of the Match. In the second T20 on Sunday, Duminy again came up with a solid innings (30 off 35) and along with David Miller's 36 off 23 helped South Africa posting a defendable 145 after their top order flopped. Riding on Morne Morkel's 2 for 34 and Lonwabo Tsotsobe's 2 for 17, South Africa won the match by 22 runs.
For Sri Lanka, their batting is the major area of concern. Except for Kumar Sangakkara none of the batsmen have come good against the South African pace attack. In the first match, apart from Sangakkara's 53-ball 59* the other six batsmen made 37 runs between them. Chasing 115, Sri Lanka made 103.
The bowling too has not been productive enough. Sri Lanka's spearhead Lasith Malinga has taken a wicket each in both the matches at an economy of eight, while Angelo Mathews, who has been known for his canny bowling, went wicketless in the second T20.
At Hambantota, South Africa will eye a 3-0 result to sign off their tour while the No. 1 T20 side Sri Lanka will play to restore some pride.
Sri Lanka: 1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2. Kushal Janith Perera, 3. Kumar Sangakkara, 4. Dinesh Chandimal, 5. Lahiru Thirimanne, 6. Angelo Mathews, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Jeevan Mendis, 9. Sachithra Senanayake, 10. Lasith Malinga, 11. Ajantha Mendis
South Africa: 1. Quinton de Kock, 2. Henry Davids, 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Jean-Paul Duminy, 6. David Miller, 7. David Wiese, 8. Wayne Parnell, 9. Morne Morkel, 10. Imran Tahir, 11. Lonwabo Tsotsobe