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South Africa eye top ODI ranking
Sri Lanka tour of South Africa

South Africa eye top ODI ranking

With the series bagged after three comprehensive victories in the last week, South Africa now look to claim the number one spot in the ICC One-Day teams’ rankings with a 5-0 series whitewash as they take on the touring Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI at Newlands, Cape Town on Tuesday.

South African skipper AB De Villiers had emphasised on the necessity of going into the global tournaments with the thumping series results in the bag on various occasions after his return to the international cricket and the hosts will look to do exactly the same before the ICC Champions Trophy in July. They, however, have to play eight more ODIs — five in New Zealand and three in England — ahead of the eight-team tournament but it is the momentum that they look to achieve.

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The Proteas will now look to rotate the players to come up with the best possible combinations and keep their men fresh for the daunting assignments ahead. Tahir Shamsi and Wayne Parnell may find themselves in the line-up at the place of Chris Morris and Imran Tahir, who continues to impress every ball.

Their opposing camp have had their share of rotation when they handed ODI caps to fast bowlers Lahiru Kumara and Lakshan Sandakan in the previous match but nothing have worked for them in the series.

After having won the three-T20I series, that also coming from behind, the Lankans entered the ODI series full of confidence despite the absence of their captain Angelo Mathews. But their substandard show translated in the host side’s dominance, which now doesn’t seem to end.

There were a few positives though for Sri Lanka in the Pink ODI. Niroshan Dickwella converted a good start into a solid 80-ball 74 — the score went down as the highest by a Lankan batsman on the tour across all formats — and Suranga Lakmal bowled at tight lengths for his 0 for 23 in six overs.

The Lankans, who will continue to be led by stand-in captain Upul Tharanga, may take respite from having a look at the Newlands track, where they last played an ODI in 2003 World Cup. It is a mixture of green and brown patches which promise assistance for the spinners.