Tailender Isuru Udana hit a rapid half-century to lift a poor Sri Lankan batting performance in the fourth One-Day International against South Africa at St George’s Park on Wednesday. Batting at number nine, Udana hit 78 in a Sri Lankan total of 189.
Sri Lanka, trailing 3-0 in the five-match series, faced humiliation when Udana walked in with his team reeling at 97 for seven after being sent in on what looked a good batting pitch.
But Udana, who has hit two centuries in first-class cricket, struck the ball cleanly in a 57-ball innings which included seven fours and four sixes.
Udana was particularly severe on fast bowler Anrich Nortje, one of the main destroyers in the early part of the innings.
Nortje took three for 19 in six overs in his first spell but the first three balls of his second spell were all hit for six by Udana, who plundered 37 runs off Nortje’s last two overs. The last wicket yielded 58 runs, 55 of them to Udana.
The scores: Sri Lanka 189 in 39.2 overs (Isuru Udana 78, Anrich Nortje three for 57) vs. South Africa. Toss: South Africa.