After ending the first day at 8/116, South African spinner Keshav Maharaj entered history books on the second day's play at Colombo when he picked up the last wicket of Rangana Herath. In doing so, the left-armer broke the all-time Test record for the best figures by a visiting bowler on Asian soil.
Among all non-Asian bowlers who have played Test cricket in Asia, Maharaj's first innings figures of 9/129 enabled him to attain the best ever record. He surpassed the previous best of 8/49 by West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo in the 2016 Dubai Test against Pakistan.
Having lost the toss on a rapidly deteriorating track, the visitors relied on Maharaj's marathon effort against the confident Sri Lankan lineup. The accurate spinner sent down a whopping 41.1 overs before ending the innings with South Africa's best ever figures since their readmission in 1992.
Fittingly, Maharaj's record-breaking scalp was that of Rangana Herath's. The master left-arm spinner would have been mightily proud of the tenacity shown by the 28-year old from Durban.
Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon rounds off the top three in this distinguished list. He had picked scarcely believable figures of 8/50 on a raging turner in the 2017 Bengaluru Test against the top-ranked Indian team. With the Proteas' batting unit collapsing to spin yet again in their first innings, it appears as if Maharaj's nine-wicket haul might just end up in losing cause. The other two spells in the top three could not prevent home team victories.
Not surprisingly, all but one in the top six are spinners. South African all-rounder Lance Klusener bucked the trend by collecting 8/64 on a dry surface at the Eden Gardens in 1996. The other fast bowlers in the top ten are Australian legend Ray Lindwall as well as the England duo of John Lever and Ian Botham.
The likes of Lindwall, Lever and Botham all picked seven-wicket hauls in memorable visiting victories on Indian soil. Venerated left-arm spinner Hedley Verity's 7/49 against India in the 1934 Madras Test just about kept Dale Steyn's iconic Nagpur spell of 7/51 out of the top ten.
Top 10 Test figures by non-Asian bowlers in Asia
#1 Keshav Maharaj - 9/129 (from 41.1 overs) against Sri Lanka at Colombo (SSC) in 2018
#2 Devendra Bishoo - 8/49 (from 13.5 overs) against Pakistan at Dubai in 2016
#3 Nathan Lyon - 8/50 (from 22.2 overs) against India at Bengaluru in 2017
#4 Lance Klusener - 8/64 (from 21.3 overs) against India at Calcutta in 1996
#5 Stuart MacGill - 8/108 (from 33.3 overs) against Bangladesh at Fatullah in 2006
#6 Jason Krejza - 8/215 (from 43.5 overs) against India at Nagpur in 2008
#7 Ray Lindwall - 7/43 (from 22.5 overs) against India at Madras in 1956
#8 John Lever - 7/46 (from 23 overs) against India at Delhi in 1976
#9 Ian Botham - 7/48 (from 26 overs) against India at Bombay in 1980
#10 Hedley Verity - 7/49 (from 23.5 overs) against India at Madras in 1934
(*Note: All statistics are accurate as of 21st July, 2018)