Sri Lanka on Saturday became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa. Chasing a target of 197, Sri Lanka had a 137-run deficit to deal with at the start of Day 3 with eight wickets in hand. Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando ensured that the visitors don’t lose any more wickets. They won the Test by eight wickets and thus sealed the series 2-0. It also ended South Africa’s run of seven consecutive series wins at home.
In what turned out to be a low-scoring match, South Africa seemed to have got a hold on the series after scoring 222 in the first innings and then dismissing Sri Lanka for 154.
However, Sri Lanka returned strong with the ball on Day 2 in which a whopping 18 wickets fell. Pacer Suranga Lakmal led the assault, with figures of 4/39 in 16.3 overs. Sri Lanka lost both their openers at the fag end of Day 2 and the match was poised on a knife’s edge at the end of the day’s play.
However, Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis ensured that Day 3 would be an antithesis to Day 2. The pitch was deteriorating and it looked it would only get more difficult but the pair made it look as easy as ever. They smashed 137 even before the end of the first session on Day 3. Their partnership was worth 163 runs at the end of it and Sri Lanka got over the line quite comfortably.
South Africa had lost the first Test in spectacular fashion in Durban. They were in control for much of the game and reduced Sri Lanka to their final wicket with the visitors still needing well over 70 runs to win.
Kusal Perera then led a stunning assault on the South African bowlers with no. 11 Vishwa Fernando holding up the other end and Sri Lanka won the match by one wicket. Their partnership of 78 runs was the highest at no. 11 for any team in Test history. Before that, Sri Lanka had not won a match in any format since October 2018.