South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2019: Kusal Perera scripts historic one-wicket victory for the Lankans
In a Test match that began with a bit of a scare for South Africa, the end result was nothing less than a shocker. Arguably the best Test team in the world conceded the first Test match to a relatively lower ranked team at the former's home. This is just Sri Lanka's second Test victory in South Africa - more than seven years after their historic maiden victory on the same ground - at Kingsmead in Durban.
Putting the host team in to bat after winning the toss, Sri Lanka's bowlers bowled South Africa out for 235. South Africa came back strongly, bowling Sri Lanka out for 191. South African captain Faf du Plessis strengthened his team's case, scoring 90 to take his team to 259 in their second innings - to provide Sri Lanka with a target of over 300.
Kusal Perera, who has been nicknamed as 'Little Jayasuriya' by many experts, played one of the best fourth innings knocks in Test cricket in recent years. Perera came in to bat at number five, with Sri Lanka reeling at 52 for 3 chasing 304 in their second innings. Perera found some support from Oshada Fernando and Dhananjaya De Silva before the team was reeling at 226 for 9.
Needing 78 runs with just one wicket in hand, no one would have backed Sri Lanka to survive anything more than a few overs against a world-class bowling attack consisting of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.
Perera found the most unlikely support in the form of number eleven Vishwa Fernando. While Fernando did not try any heroics, Perera hit all of his five sixes only after Vishwa arrived at the crease. Perera played as if he had nothing to lose, and did not look fluttered at any point in the innings. With an unbeaten 153, Perera scored more than half of the total runs required by Sri Lanka in their fourth innings.