HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka: Sparkling centuries from Quinton de Kock and A.B. de Villiers helped South Africa to their first series win in Sri Lanka on Saturday after an 82-run victory in the third and final one-day international on Saturday.
Opener de Kock struck 128 off 127 balls and captain de Villiers 108 off 71 as South Africa posted 339-5 for its highest one-day international total against Sri Lanka. The home side was then bowled out for 257 in 44.3 overs.
The platform for a huge score was set by De Kock, who struck 12 fours and three sixes for his fifth century in 18 ODI games, while De Villiers smashed 11 fours and four sixes for his 17th century. The pair dominated both pace and spin with ease on a perfect batting strip and figured in useful partnerships.
De Kock, who got off the blocks with three fours off the first over bowled by Lasith Malinga, was involved in two century stands. He made the most of two reprieves to add 118 runs for the opening wicket with in-form batsman Hashim Amla (48) and 116 for the third with de Villiers. On the other hand, De Villiers was content with singles and twos early on, striking more freely as the innings progressed. He added 80 for the fourth wicket with Jean-Paul Duminy (29).
Both centurions holed out in the deep while trying to force the pace of runs. "I'm very happy with the way the boys played," de Villiers said. "It's our first series win here, so we'll celebrate tonight." Earlier in the innings, Amla started strongly in his quest for a third consecutive century but fell just short before the halfway point.
Amla, who had scored 109 and 101 in the first two matches of the series, hit four boundaries before he was beaten by left-arm-spinner Rangana Herath. He jumped out in an effort to hit the ball over cover but ended up hitting it to Sachithra Senanayake at long-off.
Herath struck once again as Jacques Kallis fell cheaply for the third time in the series. Kallis, who had no runs in the first game and just one in the second, was trapped lbw with a ball that came in with the arm. Sri Lanka gave an early scare to South Africa as it got off to a blistering start to reach 99-1 in 10 overs but then lost its way.
Its top three batsmen -- Kusal Perera (37), Tillakaratne Dilshan (30) and Kumar Sangkkara (36) -- all failed to convert their knocks into big ones. Left-hander Perera was caught at mid-off off pace bowler Wayne Parnell while his co-opener Dilshan went for a suicidal run and found himself at the same end as Sangakkara.
Sangakkara himself was out a little later, edging one from Ryan McLaren down the leg side to wicketkeeper de Kock. Captain Angelo Mathews started slowly to score 58 and figured in an 83-run sixth-wicket partnership with Ashan Priyanjan (30) but there were only faint hopes of making a fight from thereon.
"We don't deserve to win the way we played today," Mathews said. "We were flat on the field and let go of a few catches. It was a depressing performance." McLaren was the most successful bowler with 3-37 and finished the series with nine wickets.