Sri Lanka cruise to big Test victory and historic series triumph in SA
Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis struck unbeaten half-centuries as Sri Lanka claimed a historic eight-wicket win over South Africa in the second and final test at St George’s Park for a 2-0 series victory on Saturday.
Prior to the series, Sri Lanka had not won a game in any format since October but become the first team from Asia to win a test series in South Africa as they comfortably chased down a victory target of 197 on the third day.
Sri Lanka claimed a thrilling first test in Durban by one wicket and outplayed South Africa in the second, setting up their victory by skittling the hosts for 128 in their second innings on Friday.
Mendis (84 not out) and Fernando (75 not out) then put on an unbeaten stand of 163 for the third wicket in their chase as they pummelled the much-vaunted South African bowling attack on a wicket that became easier to bat on through the test.
Sri Lanka had resumed on the third morning on 60 for two, though effectively three down with spinner Lasith Embuldeniya out of the test with a broken thumb, and as has been the case through the series looked to attack the home bowlers.
Fernando, who made his debut in the series, completed his maiden half-century off 69 balls, providing the perfect foil for the more aggressive Mendis.
Sri Lanka have now won two of their last six test series, with both those victories coming against South Africa after also defeating the Proteas at home last July.
South Africa witnessed their run of seven consecutive home test series wins come to an end.