A tremendous knock of 153* by Kusal Perera helped Sri Lanka chase down the 304-run target set by hosts South Africa in the 1st Test played at Kingsmead, Durban. The 4th day’s play saw an extended 2nd session as Perera together with the Sri Lankan tail pulled off an miracle win for the visitors.
It was once again a good start for the visitors on day 4 as their pair of overnight batsmen Oshada Fernando and Kusal Perera negotiated 9 top-class overs from Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada brilliantly.
The duo guided Sri Lanka to triple figures while reducing the number of runs required to under 200. Just as the partnership reached 50 and Fernando was well on course for fifty on debut, Dale Steyn fired his gun.
Fernando, who was leaving the ball well, was eventually deceived by a Steyn delivery which was bowled at the 4th wicket line to give Faf du Plessis an easy catch at slips. Following Fernando’s dismissal for a well-made 37, Sri Lanka’s new vice-captain and number 6 batsman, Niroshan Dickwella was dismissed in his 2nd delivery.
Steyn bowling a majority of cross-seamed deliveries during his successful spell dismissed Fernando off a cross-seamed delivery while the delivery which dismissed Dickwella slowed up a little off the pitch and forced the batsman give the bowler a return catch. Steyn who did well to change his body motion to cling on to the incoming ball, single-handedly, jolted Sri Lanka with his double blow.
On the other end for Sri Lanka, Kusal Perera continued to score in his merry way as he scored his 2nd half-century of the match. Following a shaky start in the 1st innings, Dhananajaya de Silva looked good this time around, as he remained unbeaten on 25 along with Perera on 56 when play was stopped for lunch.
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The post-lunch session began quite well for Sri Lanka as both Perera and De Silva continued to take Sri Lanka closer towards glory. South Africa, on the other hand, were one bowler short as Vernon Philander was out of the park and their premier spinner Keshav Maharaj not being up to the mark.
When his involvement was needed the most, Maharaj stepped up strongly for the Proteas as he picked up 2 wickets in 2 deliveries. De Silva tried to slog away Maharaj on 48 and completely missed it. The 96-run stand was broken when De Silva was given out after the decision against South Africa was reviewed and reversed.
Following a disgraceful end to De Silva’s best innings since the 73 he scored against England at the SSC in November, Suranga Lakmal was undone by a peach of a delivery. Maharaj bringing his team right back to the game almost dismissed debutant Lasith Embuldeniya in the hat-trick ball.
Embuldeniya’s inning however came to an end after facing 12 deliveries as he popped up a Duanne Olivier bouncer to give Aiden Markram an easy catch. That wicket brought in number 11 Vishwa Fernando to battle it out with Perera.
The last pair needed 78 runs to win and was the most unlikely thing to happen. Anyway, Perera displaying his character and grit guided Sri Lanka to a memorable win in a venue in which they’ve won once previously. That win also came in a period when Sri Lanka Cricket was in a destitute state similar to now.
Bringing back memories of the glory days for Sri Lanka Cricket, Kusal Janith Perera finished off the game with a late cut pretty similar to the shot Arjuna Ranatunge sealed the World Cup for Sri Lanka in 1996.
Kusal Perera finished on 153, his best Test score to date while Vishwa remained unbeaten on 6 facing 27 deliveries. He was well protected by Perera throughout the partnership and also was lucky to gain 5 runs off an overthrow.
This partnership also goes down as the World Record for the last wicket partnership in a successful run-chase. Sri Lanka 1-0 in the 2-match Test series will travel to Port Elizabeth for the 2nd Test.
235/10 & 259/10
191/10 & 304/9
SL won by 1 wicket
South Africa’s 1st Innings
|Aiden Markram||b V Fernando||11||27|
|Dean Elgar||c N Dickwella b V Fernando||0||4|
|Hashim Amla||c K Mendis b S Lakmal||3||10|
|Temba Bavuma||(runout) V Fernando||47||66|
|Faf du Plessis||c N Dickwella b K Rajitha||35||54|
|Quinton de Kock||c V Fernando b K Rajitha||80||94|
|Vernon Philander||c & b K Rajitha||4||22|
|Keshav Maharaj||c N Dickwella b V Fernando||29||35|
|Kagiso Rabada||c O Fernando b V Fernando||3||16|
|Dale Steyn||b L Embuldeniya||15||26|
|Dane Olivier||not out||0||6|
Sri Lanka’s 1st Innings
|Dimuth Karunarathne||lbw by V Philander||30||59|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||c de Kock b D Steyn||0||15|
|Oshada Fernando||lbw by D Steyn||19||42|
|Kusal Mendis||c du Plessis b V Philander||12||24|
|Kusal Janith||c Z Hamza b D Steyn||51||63|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c D Steyn b D Olivier||8||12|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||c D Olivier b K Rabada||23||33|
|Suranga Lakmal||c A Markram b D Steyn||4||6|
|Lasith Embuldeniya||c D Steyn b K Rabada||24||63|
|Kasun Rajitha||(runout) A Markram||12||30|
|Vishwa Fernando||not out||1||9|
South Africa’s 2nd Innings
|Dean Elgar||c & b L Embuldeniya||35||70|
|Aiden Markram||c K Mendis b K Rajitha||28||31|
|Hashim Amla||c L Thirimanne b V Fernando||16||35|
|Temba Bavuma||lbw by L Embuldeniya||3||16|
|Faf du Plessis||lbw by V Fernando||90||182|
|Quinton de Kock||lbw by L Embuldeniya||55||62|
|Vernon Philander||b L Embuldeniya||18||54|
|Keshav Maharaj||b V Fernando||4||13|
|Kagiso Rabada||c N Dickwella b L Embuldeniya||0||2|
|Dale Steyn||b V Fernando||1||6|
|Dane Olivier||not out||2||7|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||2||0||8||0||4.00|
Sri Lanka’s 2nd Innings
|Dimuth Karunarathne||lbw by V Philander||20||47|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||c du Plessis b K Rabada||21||51|
|Oshada Fernando||c du Plessis b D Steyn||37||76|
|Kusal Mendis||c de Kock b D Olivier||0||8|
|Kusal Janith||not out||153||200|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c & b D Steyn||0||2|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||lbw by K Maharaj||48||79|
|Suranga Lakmal||c du Plessis b K Maharaj||0||1|
|Lasith Embuldeniya||c A Markram b D Olivier||4||12|
|Kasun Rajitha||lbw by K Maharaj||1||10|
|Vishwa Fernando||not out||6||27|