South Africa vs Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera masterclass guides visitors to thrilling one-wicket win at Durban

Kusal Perera carried Sri Lanka to a sensational one-wicket win on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Saturday as he hit a career-best 153 not out.

Agence France-Presse, Feb 16, 2019 20:07:24 IST

Durban: Kusal Perera carried Sri Lanka to a sensational one-wicket win on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Saturday as he hit a career-best 153 not out.

Perera and Vishwa Fernando put on an unbeaten 78 in a last-wicket partnership to secure Sri Lanka's only second win in 14 Test matches in South Africa.

South Africa vs Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera masterclass guides visitors to thrilling one-wicket win at Durban

Kusal Perera remained unbeaten on 153 off 200 balls to guide Sri Lanka to an epic victory. AFP

Victory seemed unlikely when the ninth wicket fell with the total on 226, with the tourists chasing a target of 304.

But the left-handed Perera successfully farmed the strike, with South African captain Faf du Plessis persisting with wide-spread fields for the in-form batsman, while Fernando only had to face 27 balls during a 96-ball partnership.

Perera was on 86 when the ninth wicket fell but managed to keep most of the strike and hit some telling blows in an innings of 200 balls which included 12 fours and five sixes.

"It was a superman effort," said Du Plessis. "He (Perera) deserves all the accolades."

Low previous average

South Africa took the second new ball with the total on 263 but still kept most of their fielders on the boundary for Perera, who hit sixes off both Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada before slashing Rabada to third man for the winning boundary.

Perera, who came into the match with a career batting average below 30 and with his only previous century in 14 Tests having been made against Zimbabwe in Harare two seasons ago, shared three important partnerships.

He put on 58 for the fourth wicket with debutant Oshado Fernando (37) and 96 for the sixth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva (48) before his extraordinary association with Vishwa Fernando.

"I'm a little tired now, I don't know what to say," said Perera when he received the 'Man of the Match' award. "I did my part but we are winning as a team."

The stand with Oshado was broken by Steyn, who had Fernando caught at second slip by South African captain du Plessis. Two balls later he caught Niroshan Dickwella off his own bowling.

Sri Lanka were still a distant 194 runs short of their target when Perera was joined by de Silva, Sri Lanka’s last recognised batsman.

South Africa, who were without opening bowler Vernon Philander because of a strained left hamstring, struggled for the next two hours as Perera and de Silva brought the target down to double figures.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took two wickets off successive balls, dismissing de Silva leg-before-wicket and having Suranga Lakmal caught at slip.

The next two wickets fell quickly – but what seemed a certain victory for South Africa turned into a triumph for the tourists, who are assured of at least a share of the honours in a two-match series.

The second Test starts in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2019 20:07:24 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
6 New Zealand 4784 252