A dashing 153 runs made in double-quick time by South Africa ‘A’
opening batsman Gulam Bodi was not enough to bring victory to the home
team in the third unofficial limited-overs international against Sri
Lanka ‘A’ at Buffalo Park Wednesday, the visitors winning by 26 runs.

Bodi’s century was the second of two outstanding innings, with
Lankan opener Upul Tharanga smashing a brilliant 173 not out on a
placid pitch that gave the bowlers no help whatsoever.

Set a target of 336 at 6.6 runs to the over the South Africans made
their intentions clear from the outset when they tore into the Lankan

A fine platform was created by Bodi and Alviro Petersen and the two added 87 for the first wicket.

Fast bowler Suranga Lakman was smashed out of the attack, conceding
14 off his first over and 36 off his first three overs, including a
gigantic six over midwicket by Petersen.

The SA ‘A’ 50 came up in the seventh over. After Petersen was caught
on the boundary having a big hit against left-arm spinner Rangana
Herath, two wickets fell quickly to slow down the scoring before Bodi
and Heino Kuhn came together to add a valuable 61 for the fourth

But a misunderstanding between the two batsmen led to Kuhn being run
out when he had scored a neat 28 and seemed well set for a big innings.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld joined Bodi and took some time to settle in
before smiting Herath for a six over long on that disappeared over the
chalet roofs.

Then Bodi reached a well-deserved century – his fourth in
limited-overs cricket – with a push for two over cover’s head but overs
were running out and with 10 overs to go 95 were needed.

Bodi scored heavily with a shot to leg with a simple flick of the
wrists and raced to his 150 with a six over mid-wicket. Earlier a
majestic, stroke-filled innings of 173 not out by Tharanga had the
South Africans on theback foot throughout the Lankan innings.

He struck 20 fours and three huge sixes in an exciting knock of 149 balls, easily the highest of his seven one-day centuries.

The 23-year-old left-hander showed scant respect for any of the SA
‘A’ bowlers, using his feet to the spinners and driving and hooking the
faster bowlers with ease.

There was no stopping him as he plundered the bowling, scoring at an exceptionally fast rate to all corners of the ground.

Although their ground fielding was excellent, the catching of the
South Africans was poor with one or two easy catches being dropped.

Tharanga enjoyed a life on 129 when he was dropped off a sitter.
Tharanga had four partnerships of note – 91 for the first wicket with
Tharanga Paranavitana, 95 for the second wicket with Dilruwan Perera,
63 for the third wicket with Thilana Kanbamby, and a hurricane
unfinished 86 off only 68 balls for the fourth wicket with Kanchana

All five Sri Lankan batsmen at the crease oozed class and only one
maiden was bowled – by Johann Louw early in the innings. The Sri
Lankans lead the five-match series 2-1.

The fourth match will be played in Bloemfontein on Friday.