Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 115 not out helped Sri Lanka seal a one-day international series victory over South Africa via an eight-wicket triumph at Pallekele.
Dilshan’s innings, well supported by 91 from Kumar Sangakkara, marshalled the hosts’ successful pursuit of 239, which put them 3-1 up with one match to play.
That they were pursuing such a total was thanks to JP Duminy and Hashim Amla, who struck 97 and 77 respectively.
The duo had put the Proteas in good shape for a significant total, with the former anchoring the innings perfectly after the opener’s departure.
However, nobody else offered support and Duminy was bowled by Ajantha Mendis just shy of a century in the penultimate over. Mendis was Sri Lanka’s star bowler, claiming 4-51 to leave his side on top.
The tourists’ hopes of victory were raised early in the reply as Mahela Jayawardene was taken at gully off Lonwabo Tsotsobe. However, that wicket merely heralded the arrival of Sangakkara – who joined forces with Dilshan in a 184-run partnership.
Sangakkara enjoyed some fortune as Amla dropped a difficult chance and South Africa skipper AB de Villiers wrongly opted not to call for a review when he was struck on the pad by Duminy.
In the main, though, he and Dilshan were untroubled in an eye-catching stand that ended the Proteas' hopes.
Sangakkara would eventually fall nine short of a ton – he hit Morne Morkel straight to mid-off – but Dilshan saw his side home with ease.