South Africa vs Sri Lanka - SL wins by 208 runs
Sri Lanka levelled the three-match series defeating South Africa by a huge margin of 208 runs on penultimate day of the second Test match here at Kings Mead on Thursday.
Chasing an improbable target of 450 runs, South Africa were bowled out for 241 before the final session ended on fourth day.
A Sri Lanka victory that will rank alongside the path-breaking one at The Oval 15 years ago as the greatest in their history was within reach as South Africa's batting crumbled after lunch on the fourth day at Kingsmead. The parties in Sri Lanka were delayed by a long stand between AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, who batted out most of the final session before Rangana Herath struck minutes before close to ease any anxiety building up. The final three wickets went down in four deliveries and a fantastic year for Test cricket ended with the biggest upset of 2011.
History has been created towards the end of 2011. Sri Lanka will be celebrating their new year with joy following their team's outstanding performance. We bid adieu to 2011 but it is not farewell to cricket. Live action will resume on 3rd January with Tests being played at Newlands and Sydney.
Herath: I am happy with the way we played. It is a big day for Sri Lanka and for our cricket. Winning against South Africa at home is a big thing. I realized that there was something for the spinners and I knew that I had to bowl a lot of overs. We have to perform well in all three departments. The centuries from Sangakkara and Samaraweera was crucial and they set this victory up.
Rangana Herath is the MoM for his match haul of 9/128. He picked up his 7th five wicket haul in Tests.
Dilshan: It was a great performance after losing the first Test match. We have done well right from the first day of this match. It is a great feeling to win my first match as skipper. Everybody wanted to bat first after the collapse at Centurion. Everybody wanted to contribute and we knew that we needed to put some runs on the board to put SA under pressure. Samaraweera, Sangakkara and Chandimal were simply fantastic. It was a complete team effort and everybody gave their 100%. Welegedara and Herath were brilliant with the ball. The cricket lovers in Sri Lanka can be assured that we can bounce back anytime. With the brand of cricket that we play, we can beat any nation. We will enjoy playing in Newlands and we will celebrate.
Graeme Smith: We have not been good from the start. We did not perform collectively in all departments. We batted poorly throughout the match. We do not take teams for granted and our skills were tested. This surface suited them but we have to bounce back. At different times, it has been different things. We lost wickets in a heap and we had some really bad sessions. Marchant de Lange was excellent and it is exciting to have him in the squad. We hope to do well in Newlands and we congratulate the SL team.
Russell Arnold, on air, is almost lost for words. He is close to tears. He says that this victory will shatter all the negativity and sarcasm that was prevelant among the Sri Lankan public.
Sri Lanka have a good record at Kingsmead now. They have played two Tests here, with one match being drawn and one victory. This ground is even associated with that tied match against SA in the 2003 World Cup when Shaun Pollock miscalculated on the D/L par score.
Nothing went right for the Proteas today. After getting off to a steady start, South Africa lost wickets at a crucial stage during the middle session. AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn strung a wonderful 99 run partnership to frustrate SL. However, with the introduction of the second new ball, Dilshan opted for the spinners and Herath ran through the lower order. His 7th five wicket haul gave SL a historic win and their smiles have illuminated a dark and gloomy Durban.
For South Africa, the word Kingsmead is now associated with the word bogey. South Africa have lost the last four Tests played at this venue. They lost to Australia and England in 2009, lost to India in 2010 and Sri Lanka now.
This is Dilshan's first victory as SL skipper. This is also Sri Lanka's first Test win after the retirement of the great Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010. Sri Lanka last won a Test in July 2010 at Galle against India. That match is more remembered for Muralitharan's 800th wicket haul in Tests. Since then, it has been a painful wait for Sri Lanka's fans for a Test win.
Who would have thought that Sri Lanka would achieve victory towards the fag end of the year? Many people expected that Sri Lanka would be blown over by South Africa's pace battery. Everybody predicted a 3-0 whitewash for the Proteas, but Dilshan's men have stood upto the occasion and delivered a crushing win over South Africa.