Sri Lanka clinch historic series win in South Africa
February 23, 2019 03:56 pm
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.
Overnight batsmen Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando both made half centuries as Sri Lanka reached their target of 198 for victory in the slightly extended first session of play on day three.
The win gave the tourists a 2-0 series triumph after they clinched the first test in Durban by one wicket in Durban last Saturday.
As upsets go, this defeat of South Africa will rank right up there especially after the Sri Lankans came to country having been thumped by both Australia and New Zealand earlier in the southern hemisphere summer.
All credit must go to Mendis (84 not out) and Fernando (75 not out) who resumed the innings on Saturday with 137 runs more to get.
It promised to be a tough task as the South African attack was expected to come out with all guns blazing and determined to make early inroads into what has been a fragile Lankan batting line-up.
But the duo batted with confidence and good judgment and at the same time produced the highest partnership of the tour in making an impressive 163 runs for the third wicket.
Mendis was the senior partner scoring his runs off 110 balls while striking 13 fours. Fernando, meanwhile, hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 106-ball knock.
South Africa captain Fa du Plessis desperately tried all of his options with the ball but not one of his bowlers could manage the breakthrough.
There was hardly a clear-cut chance as the Lankan batsmen stood firm on their way to a glorious victory that will be long remembered by their fans back home.
The teams will now contest a five-match one-day series starting at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday, March 3.