Markram, Nortje shining lights as Proteas secure 5-0 series win

Cape Town – It had nothing to do with Eskom or load shedding, but the 5th ODI at Newlands on Saturday was called off because two of the floodlights – at the Railway Stand and the Wynberg End – simply didn’t work. 

A circuiting problem saw the final decision made at 21:10 after the players had spent around two hours in the changerooms. 

By then, the Proteas had done enough to ensure that they were 41 runs ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score at 135/2

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI

As a result, South Africa win the series 5-0 as they complete their allocated ODI fixtures ahead of this year’s World Cup in England, which gets underway in May.

The biggest loser was perhaps Aiden Markram, who finally looked like he was going to cash in on a good start and card a big score. 

He was 67* off 75 when play was stopped, while Rassie van der Dussen was 28* off 37 at the other end. 

Markram was superb, showing his vast array of shot-making once more and this time getting through the 20s and 30s with ease. 

He has done his World Cup prospects no harm with this innings and is in undeniably good form. 

Having won the toss and chosen to bat first, Sri Lanka never quite got going in their innings and were all out for 225 in the 50th over. 

Imran Tahir gave another polished performance with 2/33 from his 10 overs, but the most significant statement from a South African bowling perspective came from speedster Anrich Nortje

Playing in just his fourth ODI, the 25-year-old troubled the visiting batsmen with his pace and bounce and he finished with 2/35 from his 9.3 overs. 

Like Markram, Nortje did all he could with this opportunity to convince the national selectors that he should be on the plane to England

There is still a lot of cricket to be played between now and the World Cup. 

The Proteas and Sri Lanka will meet in three T20Is – starting at Newlands on Tuesday – before some of the squad heads off to the IPL. 

Nortje is one of those players who has been picked for the trip to India, and he will want to keep bowling quickly and keep taking wickets throughout the world’s most lucrative tournament to ensure that he stays on the radar. 

For the rest, there is the Momentum One Day Cup and then the domestic T20 tournament to get through. 

There are still opportunities for players to put their hands up, but not in ODI cricket. 

In that regard, the selectors have seen all they can, and the time is fast approaching to make some tough decisions.  

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