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

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.