Sri Lanka became the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa after wrapping up a comprehensive eight-wicket triumph on Saturday.

The tourists returned to St George's Park on Saturday requiring 137 runs to secure victory – and a 2-0 series success – inside three days and, having resumed on 60-2, did so without losing any further wickets.

It was the superb efforts of Oshada Fernando (75) and Kusal Mendis (84) that saw Sri Lanka over the line, particularly as a tough opening session had been predicted after 18 wickets fell on day two.

But after chasing down a total of over 300 in the first Test, the 197 required this time did not seem to unduly trouble the Lions, who were aggressive in their pursuit of history.

The result marks an incredible turnaround for Sri Lanka, who had conceded a 58-run first-innings lead to the Proteas after being dismissed for 154.

There were very few moments of concern for the apparently unflappable Fernando and Mendis, who were much improved from their showings in the first innings, where the former was out for a duck and the latter a quick-fire 16.

Fernando's desire to get the job done as quickly as possible was evident from the two maximums he struck, the second of which drew the scores level.

That left him with the honour of knocking off the single that sealed the win before lunch, taking the partnership up to an unbroken 163 and sparking jubilant celebrations among the travelling contingent. 

Sri Lanka are sensing an historic Test victory over South Africa after mounting a fightback on an astonishing day two that saw 18 wickets tumble at St George's Park.

No Asian team has ever won a Test series in South Africa, but Sri Lanka will achieve that feat on Saturday if they score the 137 runs they require in Port Elizabeth with effectively seven wickets remaining.

The tourists could surely not have envisaged being in such a promising situation when they were skittled out for 154 on Friday, Kagiso Rabada taking 4-38 as the Proteas claimed a first-innings lead of 68.

Sri Lanka, missing their main spinner after Lasith Embuldeniya suffered a dislocated thumb, then forced South Africa to collapse to just 128 despite an unbeaten 50 from captain Faf du Plessis, Suranga Lakmal (4-39) the pick of the bowlers.

That left Dimuth Karunaratne's side chasing 197 to go down in the record books and claim a whitewash, which looks to be very much on the cards after they reached stumps on 60-2 - essentially three down with Embuldeniya unable to bat.

Duanne Olivier took a sharp catch off his own bowling to remove Lahiru Thirimanne in the third over on a day which Sri Lanka started on 60-3 and Rabada got in on the act by bowling Kasun Rajitha with a beauty.

Niroshan Dickwella (42) and Kingsmead hero Kusal Perera (20) went on the attack, but Rabada removed them both and Wiaan Mulder claimed a maiden Test wicket as Sri Lanka folded.

South Africa lost the out-of-sorts Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma cheaply in their second innings, but were still very much on top at 90-3 before capitulating with a whimper.

Hashim Amla moved past Graeme Smith to become his country's second-highest run-scorer in the longest format before Vishwa Fernando had him caught at first slip by Kusal Mendis.

Du Plessis hung in there, but South Africa lost seven wickets for 38 runs, Lakmal getting rid of the dangerous Quinton de Kock caught and bowled and finishing a pitiful innings by trapping Olivier leg before after the impressive Dhananjaya de Silva took 3-36.

Sri Lanka were 34-2 after Thirimanne and Karunaratne nicked behind off Rabada and Olivier respectively, but no further damage was done, and they should fancy their chances of a stunning series win after chasing down over 300 in the first Test.

Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha took three wickets apiece as history-chasing Sri Lanka dismissed South Africa for 222 on day one of the second Test at St George's Park.

No Asian nation has won a Test series in South Africa, but Sri Lanka could become the first after a sensational victory at Kingsmead and they made a promising start in Port Elizabeth.

Needing to avoid defeat in order to go down in the record books, Vishwa (3-62) and Rajitha (3-67) excelled on a grassy pitch as the Proteas were bowled out early in the final session.

South Africa slumped to 15-3 before Aiden Markram (60) and Quinton de Kock (86) spared their blushes and Sri Lanka were 60-3 in reply at stumps, Duanne Olivier taking 2-25.

Vishwa offered great support for Kusal Perera in a record match-winning 10th wicket stand in Durban after starring with the ball and the paceman gave Sri Lanka a dream start on Thursday.

The left-armer removed Dean Elgar's off stump and produced a peach of a delivery to clean up Hashim Amla first ball in a magnificent sixth over.

Temba Bavuma only just survived the hat-trick ball and fell without scoring when he was run out by a direct hit from Rajitha at the non-striker's end.

South Africa were in the mire on 15-3 when Faf du Plessis strolled out to the middle not long after winning the toss and the captain was content to hang in there as Vishwa continued to steam in, generating movement and bounce.

Markram was in great touch, playing glorious drives on both sides of the wicket as Du Plessis dug in at the other end, but captain Dimuth Karunaratne yorked his opposite number for 25 in his first over on the stroke of lunch to end a stand of 58.

The stylish Markram had a deserved sixth Test half-century early in the afternoon session and looked untroubled until he was trapped in front by Rajitha, who quickly dismissed debutant Wiaan Mulder in the same fashion.

South Africa were 157-7 when Keshav Maharaj became the excellent Rajitha's third victim, but De Kock played with great fluency in a typically attacking knock.

De Kock brought up his half-century from only 51 balls before Kagiso Rabada (22) was dropped by Dhananjaya de Silva and Lasith Embuldeniya, who was left with blood streaming from his thumb after putting down a simple chance off his own bowling.

Wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock needed treatment on his left leg, but that did not stop him from hooking and driving Vishwa to the boundary before he was bowled by De Silva (2-15).

De Silva and Vishwa mopped up the tail, then Olivier saw the back of Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis after Rabada had Karunaratne caught behind to leave the match well poised.

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne believes the Port Elizabeth pitch offers the tourists the chance to make history in South Africa this week.

After the sensational one-wicket victory in the first contest in Durban, Sri Lanka could claim their first Test-series win in South Africa if they can avoid defeat at St George's Park.

Kusal Perera rescued the tourists at Kingsmead with an incredible batting performance that saw him score 153 of their 304-run second-innings target.

Karunaratne hopes the rest of his side's batting line-up will be able to assist more in Port Elizabeth, particularly on a pitch that is not as conducive to fast bowling like the ones in previous Tests.

"We had a tough two games in Australia on fast and bouncy wickets," the skipper told reporters.

"We consistently got pitches where bowlers were bowling 150kph. But I told my team-mates that here it's much easier than in Australia.

"You have to get better, from that experience. You have to keep your head clear and play positively. 

"I think we saw that in the last game. This Port Elizabeth pitch is a pretty good wicket compared to the others, like Johannesburg, which is fast and bouncy. We have a good batting wicket here.

"We came here to win matches, I just want to make sure the boys give their maximum each day."

 

 

Faf du Plessis warned South Africa must raise their game if they are to avoid a first home Test series defeat to Sri Lanka.

Kusal Perera was the hero with a magnificent unbeaten 153 to seal a sensational one-wicket victory in the first Test at Kingsmead.

Du Plessis said the Proteas were taken by surprise in Durban, having gone into the match as strong favourites given the on and off-field issues Sri Lanka have had to contend with.

South Africa have won five and drawn one of their last six Tests in Port Elizabeth, but captain Du Plessis knows they will have to step it up to avoid making unwanted history.

"We're very proud about our record - we have made sure that we've made our home a fortress," said the skipper.

"For the last two years or so, I don't think we played a bad game against Sri Lanka at home. But we need to be better to beat them."

The batsman added: "They surprised us with the way they played in Durban, but here there will be bit of sideways movement.

"In Durban, there's not a lot of that. Kingsmead has always [offered] a five-wicket haul for spinners. Here, although the spinner plays a role, I don't think that much help will be there."

All-rounder Wiaan Mulder could make his South Africa Test debut in the absence of Vernon Philander (hamstring).

 

 

South Africa have confirmed Vernon Philander will miss the second Test against Sri Lanka due to a hamstring problem.

The injury-prone seamer bowled only eight overs in the second innings of the opening Test at Kingsmead as the tourists chased down 304 to win by one wicket in remarkable scenes.

And if the Proteas are to prevail in Port Elizabeth and secure a 1-1 series draw, they will have to do so without Philander, who has 214 Test wickets at an average of 21.64.

"Injury update from the Proteas camp: Vernon Philander will miss the second Test against Sri Lanka due to a hamstring injury. There will be no replacement added to the squad," read a Cricket South Africa statement.

The second Test at St George's Park gets under way on Thursday.

Sri Lanka have selected off-spinner Akila Dananjaya in their ODI squad to face South Africa, while Dinesh Chandimal has been left out.

Dananjaya was banned from bowling in international matches by the ICC in December after he was found to have an illegal action.

It is thought his availability for the series against the Proteas, which begins at the Wanderers on March 3, is subject to receiving clearance from world cricket's governing body.

Chandimal, not included in the squad for the ongoing Test series, misses out again but Angelo Perera has been called up and could play his first ODI since 2016.

Oshada Fernando made his Test debut in the sensational one-wicket win at Kingsmead last week and he could also make his bow in the 50-over format after being included in the 17-man party led by veteran seamer Lasith Malinga.

Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis is in the frame for a maiden ODI cap while batting all-rounder Priyamal Perera is in line for an international debut.

Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (captain), Akila Dananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Perera, Kusal Perera, Priyamal Perera, Thisara Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Upul Tharanga, Isuru Udana.

Kusal Perera deserves all the praise that comes his way for steering Sri Lanka to an unlikely opening-Test win for his "Superman" effort with the bat, said losing South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.

Sri Lanka appeared to be on a hiding to nothing in Durban when, chasing 304 for victory, the tourists fell to 226-9 from 83-3 on day four.

But Perera, on 86 at that point, produced a masterclass for the ages and his unbroken stand of 78 with Vishwa Fernando – a record 10th-wicket, fourth-innings partnership for a winning side in Test cricket – steered Sri Lanka to a one-wicket triumph.

Proteas skipper Du Plessis concedes his side could do nothing to get Perera, who finished a career-best 153 not out, off strike and recognised the match was a great advert for fans of five-day cricket.

"It was an incredible game of cricket. We're very disappointed to end on the losing side, but to have it to go down to nine wickets and a 78-run partnership at the end is great for the game of Test cricket," he said. 

"You could tell the fans were excited about it and, I suppose, as fans, that's the kind of Test match you want to see. 

"Well played to Sri Lanka. Obviously Perera was unbelievable. It took a Superman effort. He deserves all of the accolades that will come to him after this game."

Du Plessis admitted that the manner of the defeat was a tough one to take.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't emotions going through me on the inside. The legs underneath the water paddling, a little bit of that. It's difficult for a captain," he added. 

"You want to protect a lead and then you also understand that you want to try to bowl at the tailender. 

"He played that beautifully. Whatever we tried, he still managed to get one away or a boundary away, every over, every over.

"Towards the end, we got a few balls at the tailender but unfortunately there were a few plays and misses."

Kusal Perera incredibly deflected praise onto his Sri Lanka team-mates despite a phenomenal individual effort in the one-wicket win over South Africa.

Perera, who started and ended day four at the crease, compiled a sensational unbeaten 153 and dominated a 10th-wicket stand of 78 to guide the tourists to an unlikely victory in Durban, after the Proteas had appeared to be in complete control.

Sri Lanka were reduced from an overnight score of 83-3 to 226-9 on Saturday as they pursued 304 for victory, yet Perera almost single-handedly secured an improbable series lead with an astonishing display.

The batsman's breathless exploits had taken their toll by the time of the post-match presentation, but he was keen for his colleagues to be credited, too.

"I'm really tired now," he admitted, before adding: "I don't know what to say.

"All the batsmen gave me good support and, all that time, I believed in myself. We did it. I was just thinking that I did my part, but we were winning as a team.

"We had done a lot of homework in the recent past, so this was a really special win for us. We did a lot of hard work previously."

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne was similarly eager to share the praise as he hailed his "remarkable" star man while also recognising the contributions of debutants Oshada Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya.

"[Perera] batted really well," the skipper said. "He's one of the most experienced guys in the side, but this hundred is remarkable.

"Getting a hundred in South Africa is not easy against a top-class fast bowling attack.

"But even the two debutants did really well. Oshada batted really well and Embuldeniya clearly did a good job [taking five wickets in South Africa's second innings]. That's what we need. As a team, we need to play as a unit and do our best."

Kusal Perera remarkably dominated a record-breaking 10th-wicket partnership with Vishwa Fernando to carry Sri Lanka to a sensational one-wicket win over South Africa in a dramatic first Test.

Having been set 304 to win in Durban, Sri Lanka's hopes looked to be over when they slipped from an overnight score of 83-3 to 226-9 on day four.

Perera was unbeaten on 86 when the ninth wicket fell but almost single-handedly guided Sri Lanka to victory thereafter, hogging the strike and reaching 153 not out in an unbroken stand of 78 with Fernando, who faced 27 balls to make six.

Sri Lanka were therefore able to claim a 1-0 series lead, with the masterclass from Perera - whose previous Test best was 110 - leaving the hosts stunned.

Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed had shared the previous highest 10th-wicket partnership to win a Test in the fourth innings, putting on 57 against Australia in Karachi in 1994.

South Africa collapsed after lunch on day three in Durban to bring Sri Lanka back into the first Test as they chase 304 for victory.

The Proteas looked to be in complete control at the end of the first session at Kingsmead, even after losing Quinton de Kock (55), with their lead standing at 271 runs.

But the hosts added only 32 to that total after the restart as Sri Lanka took five wickets - including that of Faf du Plessis (90) - for just eight runs in a dominant spell, inspired by debutant Lasith Embuldeniya's 5-66.

That flurry ensured a more attainable target for the tourists and they were still in the contest at stumps, with Kusal Perera (12 not out) and Oshada Fernando (28 no) battling away on 83-3, 221 short of an unlikely triumph.

Already in a commanding position, South Africa cruised through the first session of day three as Du Plessis and De Kock built a partnership of 96.

Kusal Mendis was substituted out for a time as a Du Plessis edge did not carry and he was hurt in stooping for the catch, before insult was added to injury when an overthrow provided De Kock with a 56-ball half-century.

However, a rare De Kock error saw the Proteas star waste a review on a blatant lbw as he was trapped by Embuldeniya to halt the stand short of three figures.

It initially appeared to matter little, yet the match turned dramatically in the second session.

Vernon Philander was the first to go as he was beaten by Embuldeniya, before Du Plessis followed via a straightforward lbw decision off Vishwa Fernando (4-71) just before a drinks break.

South Africa's lower order never recovered and Embuldeniya swiftly added Kagiso Rabada, with Vishwa removing Keshav Maharaj and Dale Steyn to suddenly conclude the innings.

Keen to seize this improbable opportunity, Sri Lanka made a solid start with the bat as Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne paired for 42.

But the duo departed in quick succession with Rabada snaring Thirimanne while Karunaratne went to a tight lbw call, and then Mendis sent a cheap edge behind for a duck to hand Duanne Olivier a wicket.

Bad light stopped play for the day as Sri Lanka steadied the ship through Perera and Oshada, with plenty of work left to do but the tourists at least in with a fighting chance.

Dale Steyn moved level with Stuart Broad in the list of all-time Test wicket takers as South Africa seized control of the first Test with Sri Lanka.

South Africa were dismissed for just 235 on the opening day in Durban, but day two saw Sri Lanka falter even more severely as Steyn took centre stage to climb into a tie for seventh on the list with 437 wickets.

The pace bowler claimed three scalps on Thursday to record figures of 4-48 as Sri Lanka were all out for just 191.

Only three quicks – Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath and James Anderson – have more scalps in the longest format.

Sri Lanka bowled with purpose as they sought to limit the hosts' lead, but South Africa closed on 126-4 to move 170 runs ahead.

And, with only South Africa having chased down over 200 at Kingsmead since the turn of the century, Sri Lanka's task in the fourth innings appears destined to be a futile one.

The tourists started the day on 49-1 but added only two more runs before Steyn had Oshada Fernando trapped in front.

Just 10 balls later Dimuth Karunaratne went in the same circumstances to Vernon Philander, who then saw off Kusal Mendis for 12.

Niroshan Dickwella soon followed him back to the pavilion, with Kusal Perera (51) the only steadying presence in an underwhelming reply.

Perera hit seven fours and a maximum in a brisk 63-ball innings that brought about his first Test fifty since November 2016.

However, he continued to lack support and Sri Lanka had just 152 runs on the board when he sliced Steyn to substitute fielder Zubayr Hamza to leave them eight down.

Debutant Lasith Embuldeniya provided admirable resistance, his 24 featuring four boundaries, but fittingly it was Steyn who caught him at mid-off to end the innings with Sri Lanka 44 runs adrift.

Aiden Markram set about adding to South Africa's advantage quickly but lasted only 31 balls before sending a thick edge to second slip.

Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar added another 34 before the former skipper became the Vishwa Fernando's fifth wicket of an impressive match for the left-armer.

Temba Bavuma fell cheaply to Embuldeniya, who then made a sharp take to his left to catch Elgar off his own bowling.

Yet the ship was firmly steadied by Faf du Plessis (25 not out) and Quinton de Kock (15no), who will seek to build an imposing target for the tourists to chase. 

Quinton de Kock cited the importance of a fast start on day two as South Africa seek to gain a foothold in the first Test against Sri Lanka. 

The hosts were dismissed for 235 in Durban on Wednesday, with De Kock's knock of 80 providing some respite in an otherwise disappointing day for the Proteas.

Sri Lanka lost a wicket early in their reply, closing on 49-1 as bad light stopped play, and De Kock knows his side must make a statement of intent when play resumes on Thursday.

"We need to get off to a good start and try and find a way to strike early," he said.

"They have shown some good intent within their batsmen and will look to score quickly.

"We will have to figure out how we go about getting wickets."

Vishwa Fernando was particularly impressive with the ball for the tourists, taking 4-62, while Kasun Rajitha (3-68) provided excellent support.

But De Kock was not at all surprised by the quality of Sri Lanka's attack in the first meeting of a two-Test series. 

"Sri Lanka have always had a good pace attack, they have skill and their lines and lengths were tight as always," he added.

"Here, a bit more movement off the wicket really assists them."

Quinton de Kock's stubborn resistance provided some consolation for South Africa but Sri Lanka had the better of the opening day of the first Test.  

The hosts were all out for 235 after being put into bat in Durban, where De Kock's eye-catching 80 salvaged something approaching respectability after a poor start.  

Vishwa Fernando was in fine form as he took 4-62, while Kasun Rajitha (3-68) provided excellent support to help Sri Lanka establish a solid platform for success.  

They had reached 49-1 in reply when bad light intervened, with captain Dimuth Karunaratne (28 not out) and Oshada Fernando (17no) steadily building a partnership after Lahiru Thirimanne had departed for a 15-ball duck. 

The tourists won the toss and were quick off the mark to leave South Africa reeling as Dean Elgar was dismissed without scoring and Hashim Amla followed soon after.  

Amla had already enjoyed a reprieve after umpire Aleem Dar ruled Sri Lanka had taken too long to ask for a review following an lbw appeal that replays suggested would have succeeded.   

That would have left the Proteas on 0-2, although they were soon treading water after Aiden Markram's departure saw them slip to 17-3.   

The hosts enjoyed a brief rally as Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis put on a 72-run partnership, but Rajitha had the Proteas captain caught behind trying to flick to leg before lunch.   

Suranga Lakmal thought he had De Kock caught behind early in the afternoon, only for a review to spare the wicketkeeper-batsman, but Bavuma fell three runs short of his half-century in the most unfortunate circumstances.

Standing at the non-striker's end, Bavuma was run out after De Kock's drive deflected off Vishwa Fernando's boot and onto the stumps with the right-hander short of his ground.  

Rajitha accounted for Vernon Philander caught and bowled and Keshav Maharaj edged a Vishwa Fernando delivery behind as the home side limped to tea on 181-7. 

Sri Lanka were soon back on the offensive after the interval, Kagiso Rabada easily caught after misjudging a low full toss from the lively Vishwa Fernando.  

Lasith Embuldeniya clean bowled Dale Steyn (15) and De Kock was, perhaps fittingly, the last to go. 

Sri Lanka's reply suffered an early setback as opener Thirimanne failed to survive in the gloomy conditions, but Karunaratne and debutant Oshada Fernando will return on Thursday well set.

Faf du Plessis wants to see South Africa force beleaguered Sri Lanka to "breaking point" early in the two-match Test series.

Struggling Sri Lanka will start the series in Durban on Wednesday without a win in seven Tests, losing all but one during that dismal run.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal was dropped following an emphatic 2-0 defeat to Australia, so Dimuth Karunaratne will skipper his country against the Proteas.

A new selection panel was appointed in November and Sri Lankan cricket has also been rocked by match-fixing allegations, all of which head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said have had an impact in the dressing room. 

South Africa captain Du Plessis says his side will show no mercy on the tourists as they eye a whitewash.

"It's important for us to keep them under pressure to make sure they don't start the series well." said the batsman.

"If we can do that, possibly their breaking point will be a little bit sooner than it would [usually] be because of all the stuff that's happening away from the game."

He added: "They have had a tough time in Australia and there have been a lot of things happening away from their team,

"It's not ideal for them but I will always respect the opposition we play against. Our preparation doesn't change."

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