Sri Lanka’s cricket team has recorded their first victory since October 2018 with a dramatic one wicket win over South Africa.
Kusal Perera scored a spectacular, career best unbeaten 153 to almost single-handedly lead his side to an unforgettable victory on day four of the first Test match at Kingsmead.
Sri Lanka resumed their second innings on 83 for the loss of three wickets on the morning of day four.
The game was pretty simple for both teams, the victors needed 221 more runs to chase down the 304-run victory target while the Proteas needed to take seven wickets.
Both sides shared the spoils in the first session.
Seamer Dale Steyn had the homeside in business with two scalps in three deliveries in his opening spell, to reduce the visitors to 110 for five.
It was Kusal Perera and Dananjaya de Silva who consolidated the visitor’s innings.
The pair shared a sixth wicket stand to guide the Sri Lankans to lunch on 166 for 5, still needing another 138 runs to win.
Perera and Dhananjaya continued their resistance after the break.
They extended their sixth wicket partnership to 96 runs before the spin of Keshav Maharaj brought the demise of De Silva for a well played 48.
Maharaj, who struggled to find his rhythm somewhat in the first innings, took another wicket with the very next delivery, leaving the visitors staring down the barrel on 206 for seven.
Perera however, batted in a class of his own during Sri Lanka’s innings.
Remaining calm and taking his time as he partnered tailenders, the left hander, followed up his 50 in the first innings with a superbly composed century, his second in Test cricket.
And in a simply shocking turn of events the wicketkeeper/batsman, continued to defy South Africa’s bowling attack in the extended post lunch session.
He shared in a match-winning 78-run partnerships with Vishwa Fernando the highest 10th wicket partnership in the fourth innings of Test match to lead his side to an unbelievable one wicket victory.
He finished unbeaten on a career best 153 as the Sri Lankans celebrated their first victory in international cricket since October last year.
And fittingly Perera did earn the man of the match award for his heroics. He’s the leading run scorer after just two innings with 204 runs.
Perera said:”Still I am a bit tired now I don’t know what to say especially great effort as a team especially lower order batsmen, giving support so I believe we did well.”
The second and final Test in the series is at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth starting on Thursday.