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Sangakkara inspires Sri Lanka

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Kumar Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara's first century against South Africa helps Sri Lanka win the fifth and final one-day international in Johannesburg

Kumar Sangakkara struck a century as Sri Lanka won the fifth and final one-day international against South Africa by two wickets in Johannesburg.

Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan set a solid platform before Sangakkara hit 10 fours in his 97-ball 102 and shared in a fourth-wicket partnership of 100 with Lahiru Thirimanne as Sri Lanka, already 3-1 down in the series, looked to be cruising to their victory target.

However, after Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews were both dismissed in quick succession, the tourists lost a trio of wickets in the space of four balls, with Thirimanne, who made 69, the last of Robin Peterson’s two dismissals in the final over.

With five required from the final two balls, Sachithra Senanayake struck a maximum from the penultimate delivery to seal Sri Lanka’s second successive ODI triumph.

South Africa had earlier posted a challenging 312 for four, with former captain Graeme Smith and successor AB de Villiers both compiling 125.

The Proteas got off to an inauspicious start as Alviro Peterson pushed at a wide delivery from Lasith Malinga in the third over and was caught by Angelo Mathews at first slip.

Mathews was the fielder again when Francois du Plessis attempted to go over the top off Senanayake but was caught at long-on, giving the spinner his first ODI wicket as the Proteas slipped to 70 for two.

Smith brought up his second successive fifty by heaving Thisara Perera through midwicket and de Villiers raced to his half-century off 47 balls.

De Villiers continued to dominate the Sri Lanka bowlers, taking the total past 200, and Smith nudged his way to his first century since September 2009.

Graeme Smith

Former captain Graeme Smith celebrates his first hundred since September 2009 as South Africa made 312 for four from 50 overs

Dilshan dropped de Villiers at extra-cover with the score on 248, but the breakthrough came in the next over, the 46th, when Smith picked out the leaping Dinesh Chandimal at midwicket off the returning Malinga.

Albie Morkel added late impetus with 18 off 11 balls, including three fours, before de Villiers passed 100 with a huge six.

Sri Lanka got their chase off to a positive start with Tharanga, rather than Dilshan, the aggressor until rain caused a halt to proceedings in the eighth over.

No overs were lost despite a break of around an hour, and Tharanga, who made 46, continued where he left off before picking out a back-tracking JP Duminy at cover off Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Dilshan, who compiled 41, and Dinesh Chandimal fell in similar fashion, edging behind while attempting to cut rising deliveries from Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell respectively, leaving them 175 for three after 30 overs.

Thirimanne and Sangakkara worked the ball around to good effect during their 15-over stay at the crease.

Sangakkara brought up his first century against South Africa off 96 balls by glancing Morkel to the square-leg boundary but hit Duminy straight to Peterson at long-off two deliveries later.

Thirimanne reached his first ODI half-century moments later but Peterson was on hand again to catch Mathews off the returning Parnell before Perera gave Duminy his second victim by finding the hands of du Plessis at midwicket.

Peterson removed Nuwan Kulasekara and Thirimanne, but Senanayake heaved a huge six to seal the victory.