KANDY - The South Africans have taken an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five-match ODI series, but will be without the injured Faf du Plessis for the last two games. The hosts haven't managed to win any of the three one-day internationals so far, and while it’s too late for them to win the series, they still have a lot to play for in the two remaining matches.

Unfortunately for South Africa, who are targeting a 5-0 scoreline, there will be no du Plessis, an injury to one of the rotator cuff tendons in his right shoulder putting him out of action. Quinton de Kock will lead the Proteas for the first time in his senior career. South Africa have been strong all around, but it’s been the bowling that has set up the first two wins, and then, when they got a chance to bat first in the third game, Sri Lanka were blown away by Reeza Hendricks, the debutant who powered South Africa to a total of 363/7 with his 89-ball-103. That, interestingly, was well over South Africa’s previous highest ODI innings score against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka .

Angelo Mathews & Co have just not come to the party, but will feel boosted by the fact that their opponents will be sans their seasoned skipper in Kandy. And, in case the South Africans feel a bit too confident, it might aid Sri Lanka gain a sliver of assurance, which might just be what they need to come out on top in the contest.

And, while the batting has been below par, bowling also remains a concern for Mathews going into the fourth game – he will be well aware of the fact that his team has picked up a total of just 18 wickets in the series so far.

Thisara Perera will be key to Sri Lanka 's performance. After indifferent efforts in the first two games, Thisra Perera found his edge in the last ODI, returning a four-wicket haul. If he can play the role of a pinch-hitter and pose a similar threat with the ball, the hosts will have a substantial chance of dismantling South Africa in Kandy.

With du Plessis out of the equation, the additional responsibility with the bat falls on the shoulders of the experienced opening pair of de Kock and Hashim Amla. De Kock, in particular, will be important, courtesy of his impressive form of late, combined with the added load of being stand-in skipper.

DLS might come into play in the game, as rain is in the Wednesday forecast for Kandy. Humidity in the air is predicted to be around 69%. As for the pitch, there are runs to be scored, as Hendricks and the rest of the South African batsmen proved in the third game.


SRI LANKA : Angelo Mathews (c), Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Akila Dananjaya, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya

SOUTH AFRICA: Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Willem Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsiicc.