Marvan Atapattu helps Sri Lanka pull off a thrilling three-wicket win in the opening game of the five-match limited overs series against South Africa.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
Colombo:A crafty 64 runs from skipper Marvan Atapattu today helped Sri Lanka pull off a thrilling three-wicket win in the opening game of the five-match limited overs series against South Africa. Batting first after winning the toss, South Africa made 263 runs in 50 overs, helped by a brilliant 74 from Jacques Kallis. In reply, Sri Lanka reached their target in 49 overs when tailender Kaushal Lokuarachchi smashed pace bowler Shaun Pollock for a massive six. Sri Lanka lost opener Sanath Jayasuriya early in its innings bowled by pacer Alan Dawson for 12 runs. Captain's knock However, his opening partner Avishka Gunawardene shared 66 runs with Atapattu for the second wicket in 77 balls and steadied the Sri Lankan innings. Gunawardene departed shortly after reaching his 10th one-day international half-century, caught by Herschelle Gibbs at gully off Makhaya Ntini. The left-hander faced 61 balls and hit seven fours for his 51 runs. Kumar Sangakkara joined Atapattu when the score was 2-95 and the pair shared 51 runs for the third wicket in 57 balls before Sangakkara chipped a ball to Gibbs at short mid-wicket off left-arm spinner Nicky Boje for 24 runs. Atapattu faced 82 balls for his 64 - his 48th half-century - including five fours, before edging Makhaya Ntini to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Lance Klusener forced an edge off Mahela Jayawardene (19) to Boucher leaving Sri Lanka 201 for five. Sensible batting from Tillekeratne Dilshan kept Sri Lanka's hopes alive even as South Africa's bowlers looked set to take control. Dilshan scored 38 runs in 36 balls including two fours while Chaminda Vaas made a useful 18 runs in 25 balls. Lokuarachchi, who was called in as a replacement for the injured Muttiah Muralitharan, became an instant hero as he hoisted Pollock for a six through long-on when Sri Lanka needed five runs to win off seven balls. He remained unbeaten on 11 with Dilshan at the close. Ntini was the pick of South African bowlers with 2-46 in eight overs. Kallis hits 74 Earlier in the day, Kallis scored a brilliant 74 as South Africa set a challenging target for the hosts, rising from early trouble of losing opener Gibbs without scoring. Kallis along with skipper Graeme Smith guided South Africa to safety with a 77-run partnership for the second wicket in 78 balls. Legspinner Lokuarachchi bowled left-hander Smith through bat and pad for 38 runs but Kallis added a further 48 runs with Jacques Rudolph (22) for the third wicket. Kallis departed after making his 48th one-day half-century, caught and bowled by legspinner Upul Chandana. His 85-ball innings included five fours and two massive sixes. Boucher cracked 58 runs in 47 balls in the latter part of the South African innings during which the tourists lost quick wickets as they tried to lift the scoring rate. Boucher hit five fours and a six. Vaas continued his bowling prowess from Sri Lanka's victorious second Test, taking four wickets for 33 runs in seven overs. (AP)