South Africa taste life post-ABD, it was an utterly bitter one. But to be honest, even the great man wouldn't have made any difference to the final outcome of the series. They need to sort out their mental demons before coming back to the sub-continent again for red ball cricket. So, another series where hosts thoroughly dominated the visitors. This has been the trend over the last decade or so. Kohli and company would look to defy this when they take on England at Edgbaston on the first of August. Do not forget to join us for that mouth-watering series. Until then, this is Varun Dixit signing off on behalf of Abhinand and Sultan.
Suranga Lakmal: "We worked really hard and the results are due to the hard work of the team. Sri Lanka has some of the best spinners in the world and that is the reason they have troubled the South African batsmen. I am not thinking too far about the captaincy as it is a team game."
Dimuth Karunaratne, Man of the Match and Man of the Series: "I did really well in the series so I was sure I will be the man of the series. For the first few overs it came nicely onto the bat but old ball spun a lot. I stick to my basics and try to get maximum runs. We always take series by series, now we will prepare for the England series and then we will prepare for New Zealand and then Australia."
Faf du Plessis: "The guys played well in the last innings, de Bruyn played an exceptional knock and showed it is possible to get big runs in these conditions. Credit to Sri Lanka, they were outstanding. They beat us in all departments of the game that we played in the last eight days. We have some lessons to learn but we did manage to put in some good performance. Keshav Maharaj was exceptional, he put up a record bowling performance for South Africa. He has a good future ahead of him. For Sri Lanka, there wasn't 6 or 7 batsmen putting runs on the board there were just one or two. That's what you need. Right through the series we failed to get partnerships. We only got 3 fifty plus partnerships right through the series and that is very low. Looking at the wicket, we definitely would have played an extra spinner, our thinking was it is an abrasive surface and ball will reverse. There was zero reverse swing. It is a lesson to learn, when we come to sub-continent we need to pick an extra spinner as pitches are very dry. So, It was a mistake on our part not to play an extra spinner."
Rangana Herath: "Winning the game and winning the series, against the number two side - very pleased with it. Wherever you go and take wickets, you like the ground, especially SSC. The harder ball gives a bit of assistance for the spinners. Spinners bowled really well throughout the series. I know everybody has a time to go. That's why I have decided to stop playing cricket. Hopefully, in the series against England, I will do my best."
The toss was pivotal, Sri Lanka won and their openers piled on runs. Maharaj had an exceptional match, he ended with 12 wickets in the match and 9 in the first innings but he had no support from the other end. The part-time spinners weren't penetrative enough and the pitch had absolutely nothing in it for the fast bowlers. The prodigious turn on offer was always going to trouble South Africans and their first innings was bundled out in a haste. The handy contributions from Karunaratne and Mathews in the second innings ensured that they set an impossible total for Proteas to chase. South Africa aided by luck showed resistance, the performance of de Bruyn and Bavuma was certainly a positive for them to take out of this series. They toiled hard but the great man Rangana Herath was too hot to handle, he finished things off in style for the hosts and handed them a comfortable victory. Time for the presentations.
13:24 Local Time, 07:54 GMT, 13:24 IST: Handshakes and hugs all around as players make their way back into the dressing room. Sri Lankan have decimated the Proteas again who need to dig deep and introspect hard about their plan to counter spin on these rough sub-continent pitches. They clearly weren't upto the mark on this tour. Though they saved their best for the last innings of the tour. Good resistance from de Bruyn and Bavuma on the final day but it was never enough. For Sri Lanka, this might be their rebirth, they have been dismal in the past couple of years but the comprehensive manner of victory would do a world of difference to the confidence of the young guns.
Herath to Steyn, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Lungi Ngidi, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Dilruwan Perera to Rabada, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Dale Steyn, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Herath to Theunis de Bruyn, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Two slips, FSL and a silly point in.
Rangana Herath [29.0-5-76-4] is back into the attack
Second new ball is due now. Will they take it? Yes, they will. Umpire Nigel Llong flaunts it and gives it to Herath.
Dilruwan Perera [26.0-4-75-1] is back into the attack
Welcome back folks for the second session.
12:03 Local Time, 06:33 GMT, 12:03 IST: All the hard work done by Theunis de Bruyn and Bavuma has been undone by the wily old fox - "Rangayya". What a bowler he is. What a servant for Sri Lankan cricket. Change of ends for him and he did the job. First snuffed out Temba with a fine delivery and had the woefully out of sorts de Kock in the last over before lunch. This after the overnight pair had seen off whatever was thrown at them. Sura even brought himself on to bowl - for the first time in the match - in an attempt to break the obdurate stand, but to no avail. Whatever he tried, was met with stoic resistance. With the partnership finally broken and the new ball now just 25 balls away, Sri Lanka should be aiming to wrap this up very soon. Back to find out what happens soon. A word about Theunis de Bruyn though before we leave - has shown exemplary technique and determination to play the innings of his Test career so far. Certainly deserves a hundred for the way he has shown the rest of his mates on how to play spin here. Also kudos to the hosts for bowling almost 35 overs in a session. A rarity these days in the age of slow over-rates. Back soon to mop things up. Do stay tuned...
Herath to de Kock, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Last over before lunch
Three men surround de Kock
Quinton de Kock, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Herath to Bavuma, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Rangana Herath [25.0-4-68-2] is back into the attack
Dilruwan Perera [23.0-4-62-1] is back into the attack
Slip, short leg and leg-slip in
Danushka Gunathilaka, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
The over-rate has been rapid today. 95 minutes in and 28 overs already bowled
Must say highly impressed by Theunis de Bruyn's batting in this innings. Has so far failed to produce the goods at Test level, but this knock could be his coming of age. Has played spin so well
Dilruwan Perera [21.0-4-58-1] is back into the attack
Dickwella is quite an excitable character. He is constantly chirping away in Sinhala, pepping his boys up. "Anna hari", "niyama daana", "come on Rangayya" are some of the encouraging words
Just a slip and a short leg in
Rangana Herath [21.0-2-64-2] is back into the attack
Now round the wicket
Back over the wicket
Drinks are on the field now. 55 runs in that passage of play. Both de Bruyn and Bavuma have shown resistance which was missing from the South African batsmen this entire tour but for how long can they last?
Dhananjaya de Silva, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Suranga Lakmal, right-arm medium, comes into the attack
Akila Dananjaya [10.0-2-35-2] is back into the attack
Review: Sri Lanka have taken a review for bat-pad against Bavuma. There is day light between bat and pad so clearly there is no inside edge. Umpire is checking for LBW now. Impact was umpire's call and it was missing the stumps. Sri Lanka lose a review.
It is a gorgeous day in Colombo and players are out in the middle. Umpire says let's play and here we go.
Mathews: It was not the easiest wicket to bat on. The ball was turning, if you think of the pitch then you won't be able to score runs. I haven't played a lot of cricket in the recent past so it is difficult when you come back but I was hitting the ball really well. You got to keep motivating yourself, the batters know that pitch is tough but you got to forget about that and try to score runs. The visiting teams find it tough here and when we go to South Africa we find it tough there. South Africa are number 2 team in the world and we have played outstanding cricket.
The ones who portrayed courage to stay till the end of the day at the SSC were rewarded for it. The last three hours of the day were action-packed. It had thrill, drama and action like a Bollywood movie but what this game lacks is the climax of a Bollywood thriller as we are well-versed with the outcome of the match. Live action in a bit.
Day 4: 09:30 Local Time, 04:00 GMT, 09:30 IST: If yesterday's play would have been a movie then most of the audience would have chosen to leave the theater by half-time, it was so dull. Sri Lanka had no idea how to go about their business, they never put their foot on accelerator and South Africa lacked the zeal to breakthrough. So, that wave of the hand from Suranga Lakmal when their lead was 489 came as a sigh of relief for the South Africans as well as cricket aficionados.
Well, you don't have to be a connoisseur to tell where this match is heading. The only question is for how long South Africa can delay the inevitable. Thenuis de Bruyn has played spin well and he is their last hope of reducing the loss margin. Another hope is weather but let's not go there. Join us for the final day tomorrow, which would definitely be the final day of the series unless a miracle happens.
17:03 Local Time, 11:33 GMT, 17:03 IST: Another enthralling day of Test cricket.
17:03 Local Time, 11:33 GMT, 17:03 IST: Another enthralling day of Test cricket. Sri Lankan players wear bright smiles as they walk back into the dressing room. Win is just a formality for them but South Africa have done well to drag this match into day 4. In fact, luck has been on their side since they have come out to bat. Elgar was out off a no-ball twice, he was once called back from the dressing room. There have been 4 LBW decisions that have gone South Africa's way courtesy umpire's call still they find themselves in a terrible position.
Dilruwan Perera [15.0-4-35-1] is back into the attack
Just 2 overs left in the day. South African Physio is out, he is giving attention to the elbow of de Bruyn. It seems fine now.
Slip, silly point, FSL, short mid-wicket. All are in for this hat-trick ball. I can see 6 men surround the batsman
Temba Bavuma, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Dananjaya to Maharaj, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Keshav Maharaj, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Dananjaya to du Plessis, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Review Time: They are going upstairs for a catch at slip. Dickwella looks confident but he is always confident. One can't go by his reaction. This time though he is correct, slightest of an inside edge and then it pops to slip.
Akila Dananjaya [6.0-0-22-0] is back into the attack
Faf du Plessis, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Herath to Amla, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Rangana Herath [9.0-1-35-1] is back into the attack
It's time for drinks. These two are looking fairly comfortable against spin so far. South Africa will hope that they carry on and take them till stumps.
Hashim Amla, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Dilruwan Perera to Elgar, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Akila Dananjaya, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Here's the kingpin. The man who destroyed South Africa in the first innings. Akila Dananjaya with two slips and FSL.
Slip, gully and FSL for DP.
We're back live again. Drops, appeals, edges, reviews, no-balls and intrigue aplenty in that tricky little phase. The Sri Lankan spin duo of Dilruwan and Herath have set the cat amongst the pigeons. 9 more wickets to go, can they wrap it up in this session? You might wonder that I am ruling out the possibility of a South African win or a draw here, guess what. I am actually. The players are out in the middle and the spin marathon resumes with Herath continuing. Slip, leg-slip and FSl in place.
14:44 Local Time, 09:14 GMT, 14:44 IST: The last 50 minutes of the session has seen more action than anything we have seen before that today. So dire that it lulled me into having a nap. But wow this has been an action-packed end to proceedings. South Africa very very lucky to be still one-down. Elgar and Theunis de Bruyn both fortunate that luck was with them. On another day they could be four down by now. Elgar was dropped and then bowled off a no-ball. Two reviews against Theunis de Bruyn in the last over before tea. And add the numerous times the ball has gone past the bat. Spinners on song as expected and more to come in the form of Akila who is yet to bowl. Should be a fascinating final session. Won't be easy for the Proteas. Will it be the last session of the series as well? The batsmen might want to have a different say. Let's find out what is going to happen. We'll be back in a jiffy. Don't go anywhere...
Theunis de Bruyn, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Herath to Markram, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Ranga goes to Dilruwan Perera to have a word
Dilruwan Perera is bowling from round the wicket with two slips and a short leg in
Dilruwan Perera, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Constant shouts of "Niyamai Rangayya" in Sinhala from Dickwella behind the stumps
Two slips and a short leg in
Elgar and Markram are at the crease. Elgar is on strike. Herath will open the attack