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Cricket news - De Kock, bowlers demolish insipid Sri Lanka

De Kock smashed 94 in South Africa's easy win.

In the first half of the game, Quinton de Kock walked off the pitch with his face down, his stride heavy as he admonished himself for missing out on a century that was available on a platter. He climbed up the stairs to the pavilion at the SuperSport Park in Centurion and smashed his bat on a dressing room chair. South Africa, who were motoring at 131 for 1 with de Kock in charge, capitulated to be bowled out for 251.

In the second innings, de Kock walked off the field a few minutes before the rest of his teammates to allow David Miller some keeping time. De Kock was pictured in the same dressing room, beaming a toothy smile for Sri Lanka outdid South Africa's patchy batting effort with a collectively insipid display of their own to collapse to a massive 113-run defeat, giving their hosts a two-nil lead series in the five-match series.

De Kock's 70-ball 94 was easily the best effort of the day, not just because no one else managed to score as many runs but because no other batsman, save Faf du Plessis, could sustain control on a pitch that deceived all those that sought to conquer it with its two-paced nature. De Kock didn't pause to acknowledge the tricks of the pitch. He set about his hitting ways from the get go, piercing the off-side ring four times in an over off Vishwa Fernando.

Lasith Malinga, who brought on Dhananjaya de Silva as early as the fourth over, found his bowlers in a very generous mood as they regularly bowled at de Kock's pads or bowled it wide enough outside off stump for him to free his levers. By the time de Kock got to his half-century, off 36 balls, he'd hit 12 boundaries. At the end of the 10-over PowerPlay, they had 75 on the board with Reeza Hendricks happy to play second fiddle.

To their credit, Sri Lanka came back well after the 91-run opening stand despite the hosts' capitulation was due to self-inflicted wounds. Akila Dananjaya and the Kasun Rajitha bowled four quiet overs between 10-14, forcing a restless Hendricks into attempting a get-out-of-jail shot against a Malinga short ball and holing out to fine leg.

De Kock, who had marched unhindered towards a 14th ODI century, then fell against the run of play when he leading edged a Thisara Perera delivery to be caught by the keeper. Perera added the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen while Wiaan Mulder failed to capitalise on his fast start when he was bowled around his leg by a Vishwa Fernando off-cutter. Du Plessis followed his first-game century with a fifty here but fell soon after completing his 5000th ODI run. He became Thisara Perera's third victim of the day when a short delivery kept low and disturbed the middle stump. South Africa lost their final six wickets for 31 runs and were bowled out with 4.5 overs to spare.

Sri Lanka replicated none of the tenacity that helped them claw back into the game when it was their turn to bat. Kagiso Rabada bowled a fiery spell, consistently bowling above 145 kph, but was often wayward. However, he found one delivery to climb quickly on to Niroshan Dickwella, who found it hard to resist playing a flick-pull but closed the bat face early and offered a leading edge to de Kock.

Lungi Ngidi, fully recovered after an injury scare, operated with greater control and bowled the nip-backer to the right-hander regularly. One such delivery knocked Avishka Fernando's off-stump. Kusal Perera was another victim of the curse of the leading edge as Sri Lanka fell to 52 for 3 in 10 overs. Sri Lanka's only moment of control came through Oshada Fernando (31) and Kusal Mendis, who added 40 together to spark a brief revival.

But that association ended with a miscommunication and the latter's run-out. Oshada was then out LBW to Anrich Nortje, triggering a procession of wickets. The visitors lost their final seven wickets for 46 runs and were bowled for a sorry 138 with nearly 18 overs to spare.

Brief scores: South Africa 251 in 45.1 overs (Quinton de Kock 94, Faf du Plessis 57; Thisara Perera 3-26) beat Sri Lanka 138 in 32.2 overs (Oshada Fernando 31; Kagiso Rabada 3-31, Lungi Ngidi 2-14, Anrich Nortje 2-25, Imran Tahir 2-39) by 113 runs.

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