Du Plessis and rain do for Sri Lanka
South Africa sealed a series-clinching victory over Sri Lanka by winning a rain-affected third one-day international at Bloemfontein by four runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Chasing 267 for victory, the hosts were 179 for five from 34 overs when the heavens opened. Francois du Plessis was the chief architect with an unbeaten 72 from 74 balls as the Proteas moved 3-0 ahead in the five-match series.
Upul Tharanga had earlier made 58 for the tourists, but too many of their other batsmen failed to build on useful starts.
Lasith Malinga had the Proteas reeling at 29 for two - bowling Graeme Smith, who played round a straight delivery, and Colin Ingram, undone by a slow yorker for 13. Alviro Petersen followed for 17, reviewing in vain after being struck plumb in front by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
By then du Plessis had already got into gear with back-to-back fours off Dhammika Prasad to take his side past 50. He dished out similar treatment to the same bowler a few overs later, before taking one off Angelo Mathews to reach his half-century and two off Dilshan to bring up the South Africa 100.
JP Duminy drove his second four off Mathews, but was run out for 25 the next delivery - the closest of decisions which was controversially given by third umpire Billy Doctrove. That made it 113 for four, and du Plessis followed in similar, though clearer, fashion to leave the hosts 147 for five.
AB de Villiers then took up the charge and he took 13, including three fours, off one over from Kosala Kulasekara. The rain then came with the Proteas 178 for five and that total proved just enough.
Tharanga’s half-century had earlier been the high point of a frustrating Sri Lanka innings. He shared an opening stand of 94 with Dilshan, who was one of four Sri Lanka batsmen who passed 30 but failed to reach 50.
As the innings threatened to peter out, a knock of 40 from 38 balls by Nuwan Kulasekara ensured Sri Lanka reached 266 for nine.
After a steady start, Tharanga started to cut loose with two sixes off three Duminy deliveries in the 11th over, taking his side past 50.
A leg-side single off Morne Morkel took Tharanga to 50, but three overs later he top-edged a sweep off Robin Peterson to short fine-leg.
A similar, though meatier, shot saw Dilshan fall for 33 two overs later and gave Duminy a wicket, as Dale Steyn held on in the deep leaving the visitors 102 for two in the 21st.
Kumar Sangakkara announced his arrival with three fours in one Steyn over, and a six over midwicket off Peterson. But he was undone by a stunning piece of fielding by du Plessis, who pounced at backward point on a ball which seemed to be past him before springing up to run Sangakkara out for 38.
Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal both fell, for 15 and 36 respectively, in what was shaping to be a terrible batting powerplay before Mathews pilfered two boundaries off the final over of it.
Mathews fell soon after, however, to a good diving catch in the deep from Peterson. Nuwan Kulasekara swung the bat for important lower-order runs and got his side over 250, but they were left to rue not getting closer to 300.