Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla continued their love affair with SuperSport Park as they both scored centuries and shared an opening stand of 187 to set the Standard Bank Proteas up for an 88-run victory over Sri Lanka in the final Momentum ODI on Friday.
It enabled them to clinch the series 5-0 for back-to-back clean sweep successes following their similar victory over Australia last year and to claim the ICC No. 1 ranking on the ODI table.
De Kock, who made 109 off 87 balls with 16 fours, and Amla, who made 154 off 134 balls with 15 fours and 5 sixes, have now scored 9 centuries between them at this particular venue. It was De Kock’s 12th century to go with his 9 half-centuries to give him the remarkable conversion rate of 58 percent.
Amla joined the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and David Warner in making four or more scores of 150 plus. It was also his 50th century for South Africa with 24 ODI centuries to go with his 26 Test centuries.
With the platform laid by these two the Proteas, in spite of being sent into bat, were able to set Sri Lanka a target of 385 which was the second biggest total ever recorded by the Proteas at this venue and their highest ever against Sri Lanka.
The partnership between De Kock and Amla was the highest opening stand against Sri Lanka, beating the 150 by Gary Kirsten and Andrew Hall.
The Sri Lanka top order response was reckless to put it mildly. The only way to chase such a large target was to build partnerships rather than a couple of 10s and 20s. They were 70/4 after 9 overs and the contest was as good as ever.
There was spirited resistance from Asela Gunaratne and Sachith Pathirana who put on 93 for the sixth wicket before Gunaratne went on to make a well-deserved century (114 nor out off 117 balls, 14 fours and 2 sixes).
From a South African perspective one of the encouraging aspects was the bowling of Chris Morris who took a career best 4/31. He bowled an average of speed of 138km/h with a top speed of 143.8 and he will have the chance to build on his consistency on the New Zealand tour.
Amla was named Momentum Man of the Match and Faf du Plessis Momentum Man of the Series. He finished with an aggregate of more than 400 runs, including two centuries, thus matching the achievement of Amla in two previous series against the West Indies for a five-match series.