South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Durban, 2011 December 29, 2011

Sri Lanka's maiden win in South Africa, and the Durban jinx

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
With a disciplined performance, Sri Lanka pulled off a remarkable win in Durban and compounded South Africa's recent miseries at the venue
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Sri Lanka, under tremendous pressure after the innings defeat in the first Test, picked themselves up superbly in Durban to register their first ever Test win in South Africa. The defeat was South Africa's fourth in a row in home Boxing Day Tests. Here are a few highlights from a day when Sri Lanka finally put the doubts regarding their ability to compete outside the subcontinent to rest.

  • Sri Lanka's 208-run win is only their sixth outside the subcontinent (not involving Zimbabwe) and their maiden win in South Africa. Before this, they had two wins each in England and New Zealand and one in the West Indies. It is also their first win since the victory over India in Galle in July 2010. In 16 Tests since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement, Sri Lanka have won one Test, lost five and drawn ten.
  • South Africa were beaten in a Durban Test for the fourth consecutive time. Their previous losses came against Australia, England and India. It is also their fourth consecutive loss in a home Boxing Day Test match. Their win-loss record at the venue since 2000 now stands at 5-5 with five defeats coming in the last seven Tests.
  • The 208-run defeat margin is the fourth-largest (in terms of runs) for South Africa in home Tests since their readmission and the second-highest in Durban in the same period. They have lost three times by an innings (twice to Australia and once to England). The win is also Sri Lanka's fifth over South Africa.
  • Rangana Herath's match analysis of 9 for 128 is the second-best for Sri Lanka in South Africa after Muralitharan's 11 for 161 in Durban in 2000. It is also Herath's best match bowling performance surpassing his 8 for 133 against Australia in Galle earlier this year.
  • Dale Steyn picked up his 17th five-wicket haul in just his 50th Test. Among South African bowlers, he is behind only Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini, who have 20 and 18 five-wicket hauls respectively. This is only the third occasion that South Africa have lost a Test despite Steyn picking up a five-wicket haul. The previous two matches were against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval in 2006 and India in Durban in 2010.
  • Jacques Kallis fell for a duck in both innings. It is his first pair in Tests and his third duck since the beginning of November. His previous three ducks came in a span of almost three years.
  • Hashim Amla became the third South African batsman to make two fifty-plus scores in a match against Sri Lanka after Daryl Cullinan and Kallis. It is also the sixth time that Amla has managed two fifty-plus scores in a Test.
  • The 99-run partnership between AB de Villiers and Steyn is the second-highest stand for the seventh wicket for South Africa against Sri Lanka.
  • de Villiers, with his 27th half-century moved to fifth on the list of South African batsmen with the most Test half-centuries.
  • Jacques Rudolph, who made a comeback after five years, last scored a half-century in 2006 in Colombo. Since that innings, he has scored 187 runs in nine innings at an average of 20.77.
  • Steyn's 43 is his third-highest score overall and his second-highest in Tests in Durban. All three of his top scores have come in Boxing Day Tests.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LRanners on December 30, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    Ha...SL may have won their first test in South Africa in only 9 attempts, which is made to be a big deal. However, India and Pakistan have won only 2 games each in South Africa after playing well more than 9 matches there.

    Also, South Africa has only won once in Sri Lanka since the 1996 world cup victory and based on this, their first win in SA does not look too bad.....

  • Philip_Gnana on December 30, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    Stats can be manipulated to give the reader the authors intentions, views and interests. We do not find much of anti-Indian bias here. The strangle hold continues beyond the playing field. The Aussies and the Pakistanis have always gone out of their way to accommodate the Sri Lankans re tours. Not much from the rest. Sri Lanka is only treated as a pup by some nations. England gave Zimbabwe a two test series whilst having given SL just one test (1996) and got a hammering. Stats needs to be stated in a like for like manner and with clarity. I wonder how many home test India will win should the DRS be introduced? They fear losing at home. The smaller nations always have had more wrong umpiring decisions. Like for like? Level playing field? Stats, what stats? Surrey

  • Balumekka on December 30, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Jinx????? There's no jinx on Durban. Only thing is that Durban pitch is a much more sporting pitch compared to other pitches in SA. When the pitch becomes more sporting, Aus, India and Eng beat SA, so as Sri Lanka! If sub continental teams are flat track bullies, SA surely are green track bullies, in addition to being chokers!!! Remember SA have never won in Sri Lanka!!!!!!

  • on December 30, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Well said SinghIndia. It seems that the stats or the writer is upset with the SA loss!!

  • ASANGARAVI on December 30, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    @ johnathonjosephs - You are absolutely correct mate.. Thumbs up...

  • on December 30, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    this is so biased..they haven't included the great contributions to the SL team by Sangakkara,Samaraweera,Welagedara with their centuries and Five wicket Haul...

  • AidanFX on December 30, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Not too many comments from SA - just waiting now for Eng fans to go on and on about their "#1 in world spinner" - Swann, and all their bowlers Fin, Anderson, Bresnan and Broad and all their fringe players

  • ian_ghose on December 30, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @rana2000 - I know you're excited with Sri Lanka's victory, but please do not state factually incorrect things. South Africa has won 2 tests in Sri Lanka to date, and infact they won the Test series there in 1993. Curiously, they won both the matches after having lost the toss! Please check your stats before hitting 'Post your comments'.

    Cheers!

  • arvija on December 30, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    I know this article is about SA's performances. Does anyone know how many have scored twin half centuries in their test debut?? May be what Chandimal has achieved is nothing much to write about as this is not mentioned in any of the articles...!!

  • randikaayya on December 30, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    ABD's half century is mentioned with gusto, BUT HEY..... You have missed the 2 CENTURIES by the 2 great Sri Lankan batsmen???? You call this the offcial stats page for the game my friend?? Cricinfo may want to inquire a bit into this sort of lopsided reporting! regards!

  • LRanners on December 30, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    Ha...SL may have won their first test in South Africa in only 9 attempts, which is made to be a big deal. However, India and Pakistan have won only 2 games each in South Africa after playing well more than 9 matches there.

    Also, South Africa has only won once in Sri Lanka since the 1996 world cup victory and based on this, their first win in SA does not look too bad.....

  • Philip_Gnana on December 30, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    Stats can be manipulated to give the reader the authors intentions, views and interests. We do not find much of anti-Indian bias here. The strangle hold continues beyond the playing field. The Aussies and the Pakistanis have always gone out of their way to accommodate the Sri Lankans re tours. Not much from the rest. Sri Lanka is only treated as a pup by some nations. England gave Zimbabwe a two test series whilst having given SL just one test (1996) and got a hammering. Stats needs to be stated in a like for like manner and with clarity. I wonder how many home test India will win should the DRS be introduced? They fear losing at home. The smaller nations always have had more wrong umpiring decisions. Like for like? Level playing field? Stats, what stats? Surrey

  • Balumekka on December 30, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    Jinx????? There's no jinx on Durban. Only thing is that Durban pitch is a much more sporting pitch compared to other pitches in SA. When the pitch becomes more sporting, Aus, India and Eng beat SA, so as Sri Lanka! If sub continental teams are flat track bullies, SA surely are green track bullies, in addition to being chokers!!! Remember SA have never won in Sri Lanka!!!!!!

  • on December 30, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Well said SinghIndia. It seems that the stats or the writer is upset with the SA loss!!

  • ASANGARAVI on December 30, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    @ johnathonjosephs - You are absolutely correct mate.. Thumbs up...

  • on December 30, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    this is so biased..they haven't included the great contributions to the SL team by Sangakkara,Samaraweera,Welagedara with their centuries and Five wicket Haul...

  • AidanFX on December 30, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Not too many comments from SA - just waiting now for Eng fans to go on and on about their "#1 in world spinner" - Swann, and all their bowlers Fin, Anderson, Bresnan and Broad and all their fringe players

  • ian_ghose on December 30, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @rana2000 - I know you're excited with Sri Lanka's victory, but please do not state factually incorrect things. South Africa has won 2 tests in Sri Lanka to date, and infact they won the Test series there in 1993. Curiously, they won both the matches after having lost the toss! Please check your stats before hitting 'Post your comments'.

    Cheers!

  • arvija on December 30, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    I know this article is about SA's performances. Does anyone know how many have scored twin half centuries in their test debut?? May be what Chandimal has achieved is nothing much to write about as this is not mentioned in any of the articles...!!

  • randikaayya on December 30, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    ABD's half century is mentioned with gusto, BUT HEY..... You have missed the 2 CENTURIES by the 2 great Sri Lankan batsmen???? You call this the offcial stats page for the game my friend?? Cricinfo may want to inquire a bit into this sort of lopsided reporting! regards!

  • ami77 on December 30, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    It seems that the half century of De Villiers and 43 of Steyn's are more significant and important stats to the cricketing world than the two Centuries from Kumar and Thilan or two half centuries from debutant Chandimal. Thanks for your unbiased report. You've set a perfect example of writing unbiased reports.

  • IanJF on December 30, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Do these stats tell you that SAF has Won a Test ONLY ONCE in SL..? Do these stats tell you the lack of Tours SL have been given ? Food for thought cricinfo..

  • on December 30, 2011, 2:54 GMT

    @rana2000 really? SA HAVE WON IN SRILANKA. CHECK YOURSELF.I WONDER HOW DID YOU MISS THAT ?(IN EARLY 2000s)

  • on December 30, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Just wonder what Mr. Kepler Wessels is thinking now.....

  • Sinhaya on December 30, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    Sri Lanka gets less tours to SA in particular due to our poor performance losing almost all tests. We get regular ODI tours to Australia cos we have done well in ODIs in Aussie but not tests. Anyway next year boxing day test in Melbourne will be between Sri Lanka and Australia. Obviously Pakistan and India will get a lot of tours because they are nations with a massive fan base and Pakistan in particular has won a lot of test matches abroad.

  • spiritwithin on December 30, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    @rana2000,u r wrong in ur assessment that SA never won in SL,infact SA already had a series win in SL,they had won two test and lost 4test in SL,not that bad a record i think

  • StPat on December 30, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Congrats, Sril Lanka. You deserved your victory and are entitled to enjoy the moment. However, I'd be very surprised if South Africa does not bounce back at Newlands and win comfortably. That's the way we play...very well one game, very poorly the next. And that's why we'll always be a rather good team (in Tests and ODIs, T20s) and never a great one. Great teams have consistency...and a thinking captain.

  • on December 29, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    Awesome performance by Sri Lankans - just the kind of turn around the team needed.. Kumar Sangakkara is fast turning into one of the game's legends..

  • on December 29, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    Lakmal is thefirst Sri Lankan to score fifties in debut. How Rama missed that.

  • redneck on December 29, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    too bad south africa canned their boxing day trips to australia, they actually performed well in those! reading these coments about sri lankas lack of tests out side the sub continent, whats the problem. until this test sri lanka hadnt done much to make people want to see more of them. even then sri lanka have had 3 tests in england and south africa this year and tour australia for 3 including boxing day next year. nothing to complain about really.

  • on December 29, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    The 6 wins stats are completely wrong and misleading. What about the series SL won against Pakistan in Pakistan?

  • johnathonjosephs on December 29, 2011, 21:36 GMT

    Saying that Sri Lanka won only 6 times outside the subcontinent (excluding Zimbabwe) is EXTREMELY biased and misleading. Since 1996 (when Sri Lanka lost the status of being a minnow and started getting serious tours with England/South Africa/etc) they have had only 37 test matches. Think about that, 37 test matches, at about 3 matches a series goes out to be only 12 proper tours since 1996. Divide 12 tours by the 15 years and you get the insane statistic of getting a outside tour every 15 months. How ridiculous is that? If you are playing inside the subcontinent for 15 months, then go to play for a 3 match tour 15 months later in conditions you have no idea about, 6 wins is not bad. Look at India and Pak, they got more tours outside the subcontinent in the 80's then the Sri Lankans do now!

  • on December 29, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    biased stats to save kepler Vessel`s overrated South Africa

  • SLMaster on December 29, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Now you know why Aus, SA and Eng not giving too many matches to SL compared to IND. Like Dilshan said pitch offer lot to everyone spinners, seamers, and batsman. It tells you who are the quality players. Why SL were three times World-Cup finalists.

  • KingOwl on December 29, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    I am rather uncomfortable with this notion of a jinx. It is rather primitive to believe in such things. Of course the reason is clear - the Durban wicket is not totally in favour of the home team, unlike the Centurion. This is a more balanced wicket and the outcome shows that. Let us not forget - SA has NEVER won in SL.

  • on December 29, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    What a win, only our 8th test in South Africa. if we get more tests in Aus and SA i think we'll be able to beat them more regularly, it's just that we never get many tours to SA and Aus. Great Team work. Sanga showed he's the worlds best batsman by scoring a 100 while the second best batsman Kallis got a pair. Hats off to our team. Well played. Hope it's not a green carpet pitch in Cape town like it was in the 1st test

  • on December 29, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Why they can make pitch like centurion in durbun? Seems like durbun pitch turns much more than centurion.

  • SinghIndia on December 29, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    This is severely incomplete and bias Stats. Why are those magnificent two centuries from Sri Lanka ( by Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera) NOT included in this so-called stats while all the other non-trivial details of the defeated-team (South Africa) are included. Please be unbiased if you really want to be respected by real lovers of cricket (rather than specific countries) because you are expected to be so in your job. Thanks for your time.

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  • SinghIndia on December 29, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    This is severely incomplete and bias Stats. Why are those magnificent two centuries from Sri Lanka ( by Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera) NOT included in this so-called stats while all the other non-trivial details of the defeated-team (South Africa) are included. Please be unbiased if you really want to be respected by real lovers of cricket (rather than specific countries) because you are expected to be so in your job. Thanks for your time.

  • on December 29, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Why they can make pitch like centurion in durbun? Seems like durbun pitch turns much more than centurion.

  • on December 29, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    What a win, only our 8th test in South Africa. if we get more tests in Aus and SA i think we'll be able to beat them more regularly, it's just that we never get many tours to SA and Aus. Great Team work. Sanga showed he's the worlds best batsman by scoring a 100 while the second best batsman Kallis got a pair. Hats off to our team. Well played. Hope it's not a green carpet pitch in Cape town like it was in the 1st test

  • KingOwl on December 29, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    I am rather uncomfortable with this notion of a jinx. It is rather primitive to believe in such things. Of course the reason is clear - the Durban wicket is not totally in favour of the home team, unlike the Centurion. This is a more balanced wicket and the outcome shows that. Let us not forget - SA has NEVER won in SL.

  • SLMaster on December 29, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Now you know why Aus, SA and Eng not giving too many matches to SL compared to IND. Like Dilshan said pitch offer lot to everyone spinners, seamers, and batsman. It tells you who are the quality players. Why SL were three times World-Cup finalists.

  • on December 29, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    biased stats to save kepler Vessel`s overrated South Africa

  • johnathonjosephs on December 29, 2011, 21:36 GMT

    Saying that Sri Lanka won only 6 times outside the subcontinent (excluding Zimbabwe) is EXTREMELY biased and misleading. Since 1996 (when Sri Lanka lost the status of being a minnow and started getting serious tours with England/South Africa/etc) they have had only 37 test matches. Think about that, 37 test matches, at about 3 matches a series goes out to be only 12 proper tours since 1996. Divide 12 tours by the 15 years and you get the insane statistic of getting a outside tour every 15 months. How ridiculous is that? If you are playing inside the subcontinent for 15 months, then go to play for a 3 match tour 15 months later in conditions you have no idea about, 6 wins is not bad. Look at India and Pak, they got more tours outside the subcontinent in the 80's then the Sri Lankans do now!

  • on December 29, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    The 6 wins stats are completely wrong and misleading. What about the series SL won against Pakistan in Pakistan?

  • redneck on December 29, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    too bad south africa canned their boxing day trips to australia, they actually performed well in those! reading these coments about sri lankas lack of tests out side the sub continent, whats the problem. until this test sri lanka hadnt done much to make people want to see more of them. even then sri lanka have had 3 tests in england and south africa this year and tour australia for 3 including boxing day next year. nothing to complain about really.

  • on December 29, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    Lakmal is thefirst Sri Lankan to score fifties in debut. How Rama missed that.