Sri Lanka in South Africa, 2 Test Series, 2019
Venue: Kingsmead, Durban
Date: 13 February-16 February, 2019
RR: 3.55 | Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 1 wicket
Phew. Plenty written. Plenty said. Let us take a breather. Sri Lanka have won. Period. Sri Lanka have defeated South Africa. Double period. The Islanders have beaten the Proteas in the latter's backyard. Wow. Don't feel like putting a period here, do you? But we have to. A fantastic Test match has ended and it is great to be in the Lankan camp right now, while we offer our commiserations to the Proteas. But life moves on. So does the series. Can Sri Lanka achieve what no Asian team has done? Win a Test series in South Africa? A draw in the second Test would suffice. But expect the Proteas to come back hard. Their first loss at home since March 2018, recording 6 straight wins. Join us on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 10 am local (0800 GMT) to see whether they avoid a series defeat. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
KUSAL PERERA HAS BEEN NAMED THE MAN OF THE MATCH FOR HIS 51 AND 153 NOT OUT. On his feelings currently, he honestly says that he is tired and does not know what to say! Praises Vishwa Fernando for hanging around with him and helping the team across the line. On his own contribution, Perera says that he just did his bit with everyone else contributing their stuff.
Victorious Sri Lankan skipper, Dimuth Karunaratne, says that it was a great game. Adds that before this match, the Lankans knew that they had a great chance as their only win in South Africa before in a Test had also come at this venue, in 2011. Says that this will be a big boost to not only the players but also the fans back home. On the feelings in the dressing room during the last-wicket stand, Karunaratne smiles and says that no one was moving and everyone was praying. Adds that the feeling in the dressing room is generally very happy and that is what he wants as a captain. Has full of praises for his young side, facing a pacy attack from South Africa and also Embuldeniya, for taking his 5-fer. On Vishwa Fernando, he says that he supported Lakmal when he did not get a wicket and then with the bat, supported Kusal Perera really well. Expects his side to fight hard again in the second Test.
South African skipper, Faf du Plessis, says that it was an incredible game of cricket. Adds that he is disappointed to finish on the losing side but says that if a fan watches 60-70 runs for the last wicket and sees the team win, there is nothing better. Praises Kusal Perera for single-handedly taking the Lankans home. Admits that the Proteas were average with the bat, making 50 below par in
the first innings and then losing their way in the second. Is still struggling to answer as to how the Saffas lost 5/8 in the second innings with the ball not doing anything till that stage but then, suddenly swinging. Stresses that it was the swing which did the batsmen in, even though the spinner (Embuldeniya) took a fifer. Wants his own team to take a leaf out of how the Lankan tail wagged. On his thought process when the last-wicket stand was going on, Faf says that there were plenty of thoughts and they tried everything, protecting the target, keeping the main batsman off strike, bowling as many balls as possible to the tailender but nothing worked today. Praises Dale Steyn and laments the loss of Vernon Philander this morning, as this pitch and the conditions suited him to perfection. But is quick to add that he does not want to give any excuses, as with 220 runs to defend and 7 wickets required, he backed his bowlers to pick those on any day. Stresses that without a doubt, the unit will come back firing for the second Test but is disappointed that this is just a 2-match series.
And now. Sri Lanka. The first line of their national anthem means thus - 'Thou Mother Lanka,
Oh Mother Lanka we salute, salute, salute, salute Thee!' Today, that salute goes to Kusal Perera and the entire Lankan team. Not many visiting teams have the courage to bowl first in South Africa. But they did. Restricted the Saffas to 235, probably lost it with the bat in the first innings but then, to believe that they can win with South Africa racing ahead at 251/5 in the second innings and leading by 295 deserves respect. Lasith Embuldeniya. Does he have any relation with Lasith Malinga? Nope. Probably that word Lasith itself means magic. From nowhere, the 22-year old debutant took a 5-fer, which meant that the Lankans needed 304 to win - still a daunting task but achievable. And they achieved it. Please stay tuned for the post-match presentation...
Talking about the Saffa bowlers, they strut their stuff. Bundled out the Lankans to get a 44-run lead after a modest 235 and then, in the second innings, should have taken that 10th wicket but luck eluded them. Plenty of edges went past the fielders, landing in no man's land. Steyn took a 4-fer in the first innings while Keshav Maharaj took 3 in the second. Crucially, Vernon Philander was not feeling too well with his hamstring and did not take the field at all on Saturday, which proved to be a massive blow.
About the match in total, where did South Africa lose the game? Making just 235 in the first innings with just one half centurion in Quinton de Kock? Or losing their way from 251/5 to 259 all out in the second innings? Had they made 300 in either of the innings, it could have been a different story. The second innings saw two half centurions but overall, it was an average batting display.
Okay. Now for the game summary. Let us begin in reverse order. With Embuldeniya's 5-for setting up a target of 304, Sri Lanka began well, reaching 42/0 but then slipped to 52/3 in no time. This morning, they resumed at 83/3, lost 2 wickets quickly, but the Kusal-Dhananjaya stand kept the Lankan hopes alive. However, Maharaj's late burst almost sealed the deal till the unbeaten last-wicket stand came along.
Do not forget the contribution of Vishwa Fernando. His 6 not out from 27 balls played a huge role in assisting Kusal Perera and Sri Lanka. Wow. Don't they always say, cricket is a team game?
Nothing is impossible, goes the cliche. But here, we have witnessed that nothing is indeed impossible. 206/6 - Dhananjaya de Silva falls. 98 needed with 4 wickets in hand. Match getting out of bounds for Sri Lanka. Then 206/7, 215/8 and 226/9 - 78 needed with 1 wicket in hand. Everyone dreams of a quick finish. But from there, Kusal Janith Perera has just stung the South Africans like a bee, staging an unbeaten 78-run stand with last man Vishwa Fernando and himself scoring 67 out of those!
Sri Lanka touring South Africa? Yes. Match over in 4 days. Yes. South Africa go 1-0 up. A big NO. Oh the world, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please spare some time and visit this match centre. Kusal Perera has done a Michael Hussey. A VVS Laxman. A Paul Collingwood. A Monty Panesar. A Jimmy Anderson. Take any name you wish. In short, Kusal Perera has done nothing short of a miracle.
Last ball of the over. Faf du Plessis is frenetically making the field changes. Guess this is just a wastage of time, making Kusal wait...
Run out? Run out? Is Fernando short? Aleem Dar wants to check...
Kagiso Rabada is back to bowl with the second new ball.
New ball taken! Steyn will have just one delivery to have a go with it.
Dale Steyn is brought back into the attack.
It is getting overcast again. A big group of rain clouds is arriving. Sri Lanka could do with that. Only they can hope is that the rain just delays its arrival till Perera's century...
The physios are out in the middle to check on Kusal Perera. He looks fine to continue.
Vishwa Fernando walks out at number 11.
Review taken! Rajitha has been caught in front of the stumps but takes a review. Look's out.
DRINKS! South Africa just the two wickets away from victory. Sri Lanka need more 83 runs but that looks farfetched. The important question will be, will Kusal Perera get to his 100?
Change of gloves for Kusal Perera now. All hopes are on him if Sri Lanka want to win this Test match.
Kasun Rajitha is in at no. 10.
Duanne Olivier back into the attack.
Well, Kusal is up on his feet. Pops in a few tablets a couple of pain-killers and is ready to fight again. Good to see. Irrespective of the result, this has been a good fightback from Sri Lanka.
The physio has come out to the middle. Kusal is looking at his index finger. Seems to have got hit on the wrist.
Lasith Embuldeniya to face the hat-trick ball.
Suranga Lakmal walks out to the middle.
Review time! Maharaj thinks he has got Dhanajaya lbw. Is this the turning point of the match?
Keshav Maharaj is brought into the attack.
Kagiso Rabada to continue from the other end. An FYI... the second session is extended, to cover up for the overs lost due to bad light yesterday. This will be a 135-minute session, with Tea scheduled at 2.55 pm local (1255 GMT). If there is a final session, that will be from 3.15 pm-5.30 pm local (1530 GMT) and if the match still continues with overs remaining, the extra half hour will be added too! So potentially, play could go on till 1600 GMT.
We are back for the afternoon session. The umpires are out in the middle. Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva will resume their innings. It is overcast now, let's hope there is no rain later and we have a full session of play. Dale Steyn to bowl the first over of this session.
... Day 4, Session 2 ...
Philander's absence is not helping his side's cause. Steyn bowled with fire and his two-wicket over made the Proteas the favorites even more. Nothing much to speak about their bowling. The game is still on their side as they know the hosts are just a wicket away to get into the lower order. However, if Perera and Dhananjaya get the target to double digits, South Africa may start to get worried. Join us for the afternoon session in some time.
Sri Lanka won't be too disappointed with how the session panned out. For starters they began well with Fernando and Perera. The former perished and few balls later keeper-batsman, Dickwella followed suit. Kusal Perera who is known for his attacking cricket has paced his innings well. He got to his second 50 of the match and has reduced the deficit to 138.
Kagiso Rabada back into the attack.
Another halt in play. It is a steaming day. The temperature reads just 28 degrees Celsius but because it rained yesterday, heat seems to be dissipating from the surface. Kusal takes a whole bottle of water and nearly empties it on his head. Just 20 more minutes to Lunch, which will be a welcome break to all the players.
Looks like something has gone into de Silva's eye. He walks across to Hashim Amla and the senior helps him out a touch. The left eye it was.
Keshav Maharaj to roll his arm over.
Seems like there is a problem with the ball. The umpires do not like the shape of it and they have decided to change the ball here.
DRINKS! Sri Lanka were going good but a 2-wicket over from Steyn has swung the game. Sri Lanka still need more 177 runs to win. Will this game go till the final session today?
First bowling change of the day. Duanne Olivier replaces Kagiso Rabada.
The new man is Dhananjaya de Silva.
Niroshan Dickwella is the next man in.
No Vernon Philander on the field yet. Seems like a hamstring niggle. Zubayr Hamza is the substitute for him.
Dale Steyn to partner Kagiso Rabada from the other end.
We are all set to begin. Overnight batsmen Kusal Perera and Oshada Fernando walk out to the middle to resume their innings. Kagiso Rabada to bowl the first over of the day.
Hello and welcome to Day 4 of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka. The visitors were given a target of 304 and started well. But lapse in concentration towards the end of Day 3 saw them lose three wickets. They were 42/0 but suddenly slipped to 52/3. They still require 221 runs but will need their batsmen to do really well if they want to get close to that total. The pendulum is swinging towards the Proteas but a wicket-less session in the morning could get it right back in the center. Two whole days left and the possibility of a draw seems very unlikely unless there are weather interruptions.
... Day 4, Session 1 ...
Now then, will Day 4 be the last day of the Test Match? Sri Lanka need another 221 runs and South Africa need 7 wickets, and one would believe if there is no rain which is in the forecast, it should be the final day. Do join us for all the action on Saturday. Till then, goodbye and take care!
The Lankan openers started off well, just like they did in the first innings but a wicket soon after the Tea break, led to 2 more quickly. From 42 for 0 they ended up being 52 for 3. However, Fernando and Kusal Perera are amidst a 31-run stand and if the Lankans stand any chance, the two will have to build a big partnership from here on whereas, South Africa would like to continue their good work.
The South African skipper was adamant to give Sri Lanka a big target but the debutant Embuldeniya picked a fifer and kept Sri Lanka in the game. However Faf's 90 did ensure the visitors have a stiff target of 304.
The inevitable has happened. The lights haven't improved and the umpires have called STUMPS FOR DAY 3! Another excellent day of cricket for the hosts. They are in the driver's seat at the moment. They began the day in a healthy position and then strengthened their position in the game courtesy Faf du Plessis' partnerships with de Kock and Philander.
The umpires feel the light is not good enough to continue for now and they have asked the players to walk off. PLAY STOPPED DUE TO BAD LIGHT! The covers are also seen coming on. It is not raining for now but precautionary measures are taken.
Aiden Markram is on now. Spin from both sides now. Maybe due to the fading lights the umpires have asked Faf to get on spinners from both ends.
Keshav Maharaj is on now.
Kusal Perera walks in next to bat.
Duanne Olivier is on now.
Kusal Mendis walks out to the middle.
Sri Lanka review this time as Karunaratne has been give LBW. Only height can save him there.
Oshada Fernando is the next man in.
Review time! An appeal for an LBW has been turned down. South Africa review. It did come back but I don't think it has come back enough.
Kagiso Rabada to bowl from the other end.
We are back for the final session! Around 37 overs to go so we are in for a long session. The Lankan openers will resume their innings. Karunaratne will be on strike and he will face Vernon Philander. Here we go...
... Day 3, Session 3 ...
Clearly this session belonged to Sri Lanka. They wrapped up the last 5 wickets of South Africa for just 32 runs, courtesy a 5-wicket haul from debutant Lasith Embuldeniya. With the target of 304 required, both the openers have seen off the 8 overs before Tea and the team total now reads 28/0. They require another 276 runs. The job is not done here for the openers and they will have to bat well post Tea. South Africa do not need to press the panic button yet and will look to take early wickets in the last session. The final session of the day begins in a while. Stay tuned for updates.
Vernon Philander to share the cherry.