The Sunday Leader

Sri Lanka records historic win in South Africa

Sri Lanka recorded their first test win in South Africa on Thursday, when they beat the hosts by 208 runs in the second test match in Durban. Rangana Herath was named man of the match.

This is Sri Lanka’s first victory in 15 matches, and the first time they have recorded a win since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan back in 2010.

Having set South Africa an improbable 450 runs for victory, the visitors tore through the South African line up during the post-lunch session on day 4. Thisara Perera and Dilhara Fernando were the main destroyers early in the day when they accounted for the wickets of Jacques Rudolph, Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince.

With the fast men having proved to be too difficult to handle on a wicket that was still offering assistance to the bowlers, it was Herath’s turn to trouble the hosts. His left arm-spin accounted for Jacques Kallis, before he ran through South Africa’s lower order.

It was not all smooth sailing for the Lankans as A.B. de Villiers and Dale Steyn fought back with a 99 run partnership for the seventh wicket. As the clouds closed in and the light meters were pulled out, Tillakaratne Dilshan turned to himself and Herath to use the new ball. Herath immediately struck, trapping de Villiers in front for 69.

This dismissal signalled the end as Herath and Dilshan ran through the last three wickets to provide Sri Lanka with the win inside the allotted number of overs for the day.

Earlier Kumar Sangakarra’s first century on South African soil saw Sri Lanka extend their first innings lead to 450, leaving the hosts needing to post a record fourth innings score to win the match.

The victory, it could be argued, was setup back on day 2 when Sri Lanka dismissed South Africa for 168 a 170 runs adrift of Sri Lanka’s first innings 338. Thilan Samaraweera was instrumental in Sri Lanka posting a competitive first innings score, as he recorded a well crafted century.

The third and final test gets underway on January 3 in Cape Town.

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