Sri Lanka v South Africa: Fifth ODI preview
Sri Lanka and South Africa will both be going into Wednesday's fifth ODI in Colombo determined to pick up a win.
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 30/07/13 2:27pm
Sri Lanka clinched the series on Sunday thanks to an eight-wicket win in Pallekele that gave them an unassailable 3-1 series lead.
However, captains Angelo Mathews and AB de Villiers have called on their teams to treat the match as a one-off encounter.
De Villiers was keen to stress that any game for South Africa was important and added that the increased incentive to improve a record of just two ODI wins in 14 matches in Sri Lanka since 1993 should spur his players on.
"There is a lot to gain from the last game," he said. "We have not won much in Sri Lanka, so we are very keen to finish on a high.
"All of us, especially the younger players, are getting some experience of how to play in these conditions. That will be vital for tours in the future.
"Besides, every match that you play for South Africa is an important one, regardless of the state of the series," said de Villiers.
The South African cause hasn't been helped by the absence of Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis, who were both rested for the tour, whilst Graeme Smith missed out through injury. Additionally, injury has restricted Hashim Amla to playing just two matches, and he has batted just once.
With De Villiers blaming the failure of his batsmen for series defeat, it is clear the loss of key run scorers Smith, Kallis and Amla has been felt by the tourists.
Meanwhile, De Villiers' opposite number, Mathews, is hoping to inflict another defeat on South Africa but it has been confirmed that Sri Lanka will rest three of their big name players.
Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene and leading wicket takers Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath miss out with opening pair Kusal Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne returning to the 15-man squad. Uncapped left-arm seamer Vumukthi Perera and left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva also make the squad for the game.
"We might make one or two changes, but we certainly don't want 11 freshers coming in," Mathews had said. "In our line-up, we have just three seniors, while the rest are all young players."
"Our main target is to win the series 4-1."
While changes have been made, it is the senior men in the hosts' XI who have been key to the series triumph with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara each making a century and alongside Jayawardene adding to the solid core of Sri Lankan batting line-up.