Sri Lanka in South Africa, 2 Test Series, 2019
Venue: St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Date: 21 February-23 February, 2019
RR: 4.31 | Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 8 wickets
Tests 2-0! Sri Lanka win. Surely a brilliant performance. But that is not it from the tour, with the white ball leg yet to be played. 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is to be played in that. Can Sri Lanka continue their fairy tale? South Africa, on the other hand will be itching for redemption after being hurt badly here. That though will have to wait for a few days! Johannesburg is where we will see you next. The first ODI will begin 1000 local (0800 GMT) from the Wanderers Stadium on March 3rd, Sunday. We will look forward to see you for the coverage of the same. Hope you enjoyed the Tests. Until the limited-over matches, take care! Cheers!
We end with beautiful scenes of the whole team coming up and joining Dimuth Karunaratne as he collects the trophy for winning the series. They pose for the shutterbugs. An incredible series win!
Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, says it is a big moment for him and his team. Further adds winning a series in South Africa is not easy and winning it 2-0 is a big thing. Mentions they learned a lot in the Australian and the New Zealand series and have done well here by sticking to the basics. Credits the youngsters for stepping up. States the first innings batting is a concern and they would want to improve on that. Ends by saying he dedicates this victory to the Lankan fans.
Kusal Perera is named the Man of the Series. He says that the first game's performance has helped him a lot and given the team confidence as well. Credits Vishwa Fernando for his performance with the ball and also mentions that every player is important to the team. Reckons that what he does to keep going is to back his strengths and listen to the minor changes that the coaches suggest him to make. Ends by saying that they are obviously very happy to have won in this part of the world and that too, both the games.
Kusal Mendis who is the Man of the Match says that he is very happy with how he has done in this game and about continuing with his good form of 2018. He thanks his teammates and all the support staff especially his physio for helping him with his ankle. Signs off by saying he is really elated at this moment and looks forward to the coming games.
South African skipper, Faf du Plessis, says he is very disappointed with their performance in this series. Credits Sri Lanka for beating them in home conditions. Reckons they were poor with the bat throughout the series. Further adds the pitches were fine but both the teams failed to deliver with the bat. Feels a lot more should have been scored on this wicket. Admits the amount of wickets falling on the first two days was a shock as it was a nice batting surface. States they were looking good and playing well till now but this is probably a wake-up call for them. The boys may have been a little mentally tired but that is not an excuse he can give. Ends by saying the guys should be motivated for the ODI series and he hopes they can do well there.
Thus, the new captain in the form of Dimuth Karunaratne has worked wonders. Whether he has special captaincy skills still remains to be seen but surely he has got some good luck with him, picking his team out of the doldrums they were in. If the first Test win was on the back of a super-heroic performance of Kusal Perera, the second one was a better, more-rounded show. What makes the series win even more special is the fact that it has been achieved without some familiar faces and seniors. The youngsters and the newbies, both in batting and bowling have come out on top and beaten the Proteas in their den. Some names that stand out are Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha and Oshada Fernando. It would serve better to not forget Lasith Embuldeniya who played a part in the first match win as well. Whatever said and done, the result is what matters and this day will go down in the record books. Do not go too away, the presentation ceremony to follow...
Who was the hero of the match? There was not one single one to point out to but a few. Vishwa Fernando in the first innings along with Kasun Rajitha while bowling. In the second innings, Suranga Lakmal and Dhananjaya de Silva. And finally, Oshada and Kusal Mendis not to be forgotten. A complete team performance. But what we must not forget is that as much as it was a good show from the Lankans, it was another poor batting performance from South Africa. The way they have gone down in the two Tests is showing how fragile they are on the batting front. No one, with the exception of Quinton de Kock looked really comfortable out there and the lack of good knocks has eventually landed them at this stage of defeat.
The part where the match was won would definitely have to be the bowling performance in the second innings of the hosts. After conceding a lead of 68 runs in the first innings, Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel but Lakmal and co. came roaring back! They managed to bundle out the Proteas for a paltry 128 and ensured the target was below 200. From there on, the visitors were always favourites. There was a slight worry when two quick wickets fell on Day 2 evening but Mendis and Fernando batted and batted and batted till the final line was crossed.
Monumental! Epic! Unimaginable! Use whichever adjective you want, but trust me it will still fall short of describing what we have just witnessed. Sri Lanka have just become the first Asian team to win a series in South Africa. And what is more surprising is the ease in which they have made history today. The overnight pair of Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando have not even given a glimmer of hope as they stitched an unbeaten 163-run stand to win this game. When we began this morning, there was a hint of nervousness on whether the away team will be able to cope up with the expectations and complete the historic win but they have proved everyone wrong and how.
Lunch has been extended by 15 minutes extra as the runs needed are in single digits.
Keshav Maharaj is back into the attack.
Wiaan Mulder is on now.
Duanne Olivier is back on. Faf du Plessis trying everything here.
DRINKS! It has been a good hour for Sri Lanka. They are cruising along and have rarely given an opportunity for the hosts to come back. On the other hand, the South African bowlers have looked off color. They need wickets in heaps to get back into this game. 64 more runs needed, this game could probably end in this session itself.
Kagiso Rabada is back.
Keshav Maharaj is on now.
Dale Steyn is into the attack.
Meanwhile, Lasith Embuldeniya is seen in a sling and trying to hold a bat some how. Shows us how much this means to the Lankans, this guy might just come out to bat if absolutely needed!
Kagiso Rabada to bowl from the other end.
We are all set for the action to begin. The players and umpires are out in the middle. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis are to continue batting. Duanne Olivier will start the proceedings on Day 3.
As for the hosts, they will desperately look for early wickets this morning under the cloudy conditions. It may just set the cat amongst the pigeons in the opposition dressing room. Steyn and Co. are definitely capable of triggering a collapse but the pressure is on the Proteas bowlers as well. To avoid losing a rare Test series at home, they will need to bowl really well. When such a situation arises, it could more often than not result in mistakes occurring. That can be ill-afforded today, the fielders have to hold on to every catch that comes their way and put their body to the sword to try and stop every single run possible. The series on the line, a brilliant and nerve-wracking day of Test cricket in the offing. Emotions running high and can't wait? Neither can we... the first ball is not far away!
Hello and welcome to Day 3 and what most probably will be the final day of this engrossing and absolutely thrilling 2-match Test series. The team from the Emerald Isle is on the brink of creating history by becoming the first Asian team to win a Test series in South Africa, requiring just 137 runs to win the second Test. They have 8 wickets in hand, but need to guard against crumbling under the pressure of expectations. Sri Lanka are very close to doing something no team has done before but that could be the very reason they might give a sniff to the home team to make a comeback in this game. Thus, the visitors would be better off in just playing this like any other game and doing the basics, not thinking about what they could achieve.
... Day 3, Session 1 ...
Now then, 18 wickets fell today and the Test has been more or less dominated by the bowlers. Will we see the same on the third day? South Africa will surely want that. Sri Lanka on the other hand, know just one good session and the game is theirs. Pressure is on South Africa, they are 1-0 down in the series, they are slightly on the back foot here. Will they rise up to the occasion or will the Lankans make history? Join us on Saturday to find out. It could and should be the last day of this Test match, beginning at 1000 local (0800 GMT). Till then, take care and goodbye!
Earlier in the day, the Lankans were bundled out in the first session and they conceded a lead of 68. Then, their bowlers bounced back in some style. They bowled the hosts out for 128 and ensured they are chasing something below 200. They now end the day with 8 wickets in hand and needing another 137 runs.
Their openers started off well but then two quick wickets put them on the back foot. However, Mendis and Fernando played their shots and are amidst a 26-run stand. They have looked positive but need to continue in the same manner. South Africa on the other hand have bowled well, Rabada and Olivier especially with their pace but the Lankans managed to play them out fairly well. Maharaj who bowled the last over got some assistance from the surface and he will surely have to play an important role on Day 3.
What a day of Test cricket we witnessed! In the end, one can say it is the Lankans who will walk off the park as the happier of the two. Yes, they have lost two wickets but have managed to wipe out 60 runs off the target.
Keshav Maharaj to probably bowl what will be the last over of the day.
Kusal Mendis is the new batsman in.
Duanne Olivier is into the attack.
Oshada Fernando is the new batsman in.
Meanwhile, the Sun has come out and it has become bright out there once more!
Karunaratne is on his haunches following the second blow. Needs some time to compose himself... There is even a check of the centre guard, important to make sure that there is no breakage there.
It has got really dark out there. The umpires are willing to continue though.