South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day December 29, 2011

A win to savour for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka were totally written off after their innings defeat in the first Test. Their response in Durban has got the team celebrating with joy
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The most endearing moment of Sri Lanka's historic first win in South Africa will be one that took place seconds after Rangana Herath was asked his first question in the post-match press conference. He took nine wickets to earn the man of the match award and spun Sri Lanka to their first Test victory since Muttiah Muralitharan retired 16 months ago. The question was how he felt about his role in Sri Lanka's victory.

"What I have to say is that it was a great team effort," said Herath, frowning to concentrate on his every word. "That's why we won against South Africa, that's why we are going to celebrate and that's why we are laughing."

To laugh is one thing but to emit shrieks of unadulterated joy is another. Teams do it when they win in situations that no-one, even themselves, believed that they could. They do it when they've made a point that people thought could not be proved, when they notch up a first that people imagined would not be achieved for years to come and when they've made a statement of intent that will be remembered as a turning point in their sporting history.

When Sri Lanka did it in Durban, they curved around a corner that may have as much significance as Castle Corner does to the average South African fan. They registered their ninth victory outside the subcontinent and beat a team that was expected to clean sweep them. So much so that the host broadcaster branded the tour on Twitter as the #noexcuses series, because they believed South Africa could not justify anything but a 3-0 win.

Before Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa, they were written off. When they arrived and performed without much peneteration in the tour match in Benoni, the line was smudged and when they lost in Centurion by an innings and 81 runs, they were erased right off the page.

Tillakaratne Dilshan said being spoken about disparagingly only served to motivate the team to perform in the opposite fashion. "We proved we are good," said Dilshan, with a streak of defiance in his voice. "I said at the start of the series that if we play our brand of cricket we can beat any team in any conditions and we did it."

"He handled things really well in the middle. He is learning quickly and I feel he is one of the greatest youngsters in Sri Lanka. He can get to 10,000 runs in Test cricket."
Tillakaratne Dilshan on Dinesh Chandimal

Kingsmead did not present just any conditions. The pitch allowed for a more balanced contest between bat and ball than its predecessor at SuperSport Park. The quicks had early morning bounce, the batsmen had a flattening strip in the sun, the spinners had the rough and the few cracks and Test cricket had an opportunity to end the year on a high. "Centurion was only for the fast bowlers but this wicket was a 50-50 wicket for batsmen and bowlers so I think this was a great Test wicket," said Dilshan.

Sri Lanka were given a chance to compete with South Africa on more even terms and they did not stop at competing. After dismissing the hosts for 168 in the first innings, through the skill of Chanaka Welegedara and the guile of Herath, their until-now under-performing batting line-up gave them a lead that would require South Africa to break a world record to claim victory. Their attack, which was criticised for not being able to take 20 wickets, then dismissed South Africa a second time, presenting the team with victory with a day to spare.

South Africa's batsmen collapsed after lunch, losing five wickets for 45 runs. Two of those dismissals, the ones of Jacques Rudolph and Jacques Kallis, were via poor shots and Hashim Amla was run-out in a comedy of errors. But Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher were the recipients of crafty deliveries. Dilhara Fernando removed Prince with a sharply rising delivery, similar to the one he bowled to Graeme Smith, and Herath had Boucher trapped lbw.

The left-arm spinner used the old-fashioned values of flight, turn and doggedness to claim his five-for. Even when it looked like Sri Lanka would drag the match into a fifth day when they appeared unable to remove one of AB de Villiers or Dale Steyn, Herath kept plugging away. He said he knew he would have to bowl a lot of overs and he did in miserly fashion. Although he credited a team effort for the victory, a large part of the thanks belonged to him.

While Herath was named man of the match, Dinesh Chandimal who scored twin fifties in his debut match, took three catches, effected a stumping and was involved in a run-out received some of the highest praise. "He was involved in two century partnerships," Dilshan said, referring to the first innings effort with Thilan Samaraweera and the second innings stand with Kumar Sangakkara. "He is one of the finest youngsters we have had. We gave him an opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands, not only batting but his keeping was also fantastic. He provided great support for the bowlers and the fielders and I firmly believe he is one of the best cricketers we have produced."

The one milestone in this match that was overshadowed was Mahela Jayawardene becoming the first Sri Lankan to score 10,000 Test runs. Dilshan said Chandimal, 22, may be able to do the same after the current crop have retired. "He can get to 10,000 runs in Test cricket," he said. "He handled things really well in the middle. He is learning quickly in Tests and one-dayers and I feel he is one of the greatest youngsters in Sri Lankan cricket." Chandimal is part of Sri Lanka's new beginning, a start that could be borne from the efforts in Durban.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zahidsaltin on December 30, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    CONGRATES FROM PAKISTAN. I always believed that it was a question of having the right combination before Sirilanka bounces back from the bad patch. I could never understand the selectors dropping SMARAWEERA from test squad in UAE. Had they included him, I am sure, Pakistan could at best draw that series. Chandimal is the coming star in world cricket and I hope Sirilanka will find a couple of more youngesters like him too.Now they just need to creat belief and trust in them selfs to win this series and I see it coming.

  • AlanHarrison on December 30, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka, hopefully they can build on the confidence that this will give them and start recording regular test victories again.

  • timtom on December 30, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Well done SL...Never thought this wud happen in this series.. Well done.. Win the series.. Just dont get satisfied with this....

    Well Well.. Keplar wessels has no place to hide...

  • on December 30, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Sri Lankan team has always worked wonders for the cricketing world !! This first win on the South African soil is really commendable keeping in view their developing batting line up and a somewhat weak bowling attack and the first win after the retirement ofht spin wizard Murali....Herath and Welegedera have been the pick and surely will be the key for the final outing against SA on Jan 3rd....Sri Lankans are always a pleasure to watch in cricket...hope the best for them in the final test !!!

  • rockdworldxi on December 30, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    one of srilanka's greatest wins. srilanka are playing a test match in south africa aft 9 years n no one expected srilanka to win. hats off to them. Now asian teams are winning more tests thn they used to win 10 years bak

  • on December 30, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Absolute bravery by the Lankan Lads, You gentlemen's made all Sri Lankans proud, I hope All(KW,CRICINFO,CRICKET ADMINISTRATORS & PEOPLE WHO MAKE ARROGANT COMMENT WHEN GOOD TEAMS ARE STRUGGLING DURING A TRANSITION) learned a lesson here in terms of expressing personal views & comments. " what a magnificent reply by Sri Lankans for KW's arrogant comments" I hope he reads all these comments. . Of course everyone is entitled for their opinion but there are appropriate mannerisms & ways to express those views (surely Arrogance is not the way Mr. KW) Cricket is a gentleman's game and analysts like KW ruins the reputation of the game if he continues to do his work,absolutely disgraceful comments, If I was in his position today I would apologize to all Sri Lankan & Cricket fans for making such arrogant comments. WHAT DO YOU SAY ALL!!! Please correct me if I was wrong on any of the above points.

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    I am a sri lankan. And Really crazy cricket Fan from the very first day i saw first match over TV. fortunately it was our first test in 1982. Though test is long you kept my patience tested a lot & i loved watching . But for last few months all crazy things happened put my like away.

    but You team had made a mirracle before end of the year .. thanks alot. selecting right players has done it. if my gutt feeling is correct , Chamndimal had to be added about 10 test matches back to the team.. He has proved the value. Now he has to learn the patience . Why not calling upul tharanga back into tests. my ffeling is by now tharanga should be our captain. we need him in long run. well it is duty of team to show this is not a miracle in next test. it is all about having the same unity. ggod luck fellows.

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    Hey, What happend to anti sri lanka indian fan s now. Are they slleeping now ? They criticized Sl team before the series. Please talk now ..

  • Praviya on December 30, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Dear Mr. Wessels, Agreed. We are useless in swinging conditions. You are pathetic when it turns..still...

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    A great win and a shattering experience to South Africa

  • Zahidsaltin on December 30, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    CONGRATES FROM PAKISTAN. I always believed that it was a question of having the right combination before Sirilanka bounces back from the bad patch. I could never understand the selectors dropping SMARAWEERA from test squad in UAE. Had they included him, I am sure, Pakistan could at best draw that series. Chandimal is the coming star in world cricket and I hope Sirilanka will find a couple of more youngesters like him too.Now they just need to creat belief and trust in them selfs to win this series and I see it coming.

  • AlanHarrison on December 30, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka, hopefully they can build on the confidence that this will give them and start recording regular test victories again.

  • timtom on December 30, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Well done SL...Never thought this wud happen in this series.. Well done.. Win the series.. Just dont get satisfied with this....

    Well Well.. Keplar wessels has no place to hide...

  • on December 30, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    Sri Lankan team has always worked wonders for the cricketing world !! This first win on the South African soil is really commendable keeping in view their developing batting line up and a somewhat weak bowling attack and the first win after the retirement ofht spin wizard Murali....Herath and Welegedera have been the pick and surely will be the key for the final outing against SA on Jan 3rd....Sri Lankans are always a pleasure to watch in cricket...hope the best for them in the final test !!!

  • rockdworldxi on December 30, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    one of srilanka's greatest wins. srilanka are playing a test match in south africa aft 9 years n no one expected srilanka to win. hats off to them. Now asian teams are winning more tests thn they used to win 10 years bak

  • on December 30, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Absolute bravery by the Lankan Lads, You gentlemen's made all Sri Lankans proud, I hope All(KW,CRICINFO,CRICKET ADMINISTRATORS & PEOPLE WHO MAKE ARROGANT COMMENT WHEN GOOD TEAMS ARE STRUGGLING DURING A TRANSITION) learned a lesson here in terms of expressing personal views & comments. " what a magnificent reply by Sri Lankans for KW's arrogant comments" I hope he reads all these comments. . Of course everyone is entitled for their opinion but there are appropriate mannerisms & ways to express those views (surely Arrogance is not the way Mr. KW) Cricket is a gentleman's game and analysts like KW ruins the reputation of the game if he continues to do his work,absolutely disgraceful comments, If I was in his position today I would apologize to all Sri Lankan & Cricket fans for making such arrogant comments. WHAT DO YOU SAY ALL!!! Please correct me if I was wrong on any of the above points.

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    I am a sri lankan. And Really crazy cricket Fan from the very first day i saw first match over TV. fortunately it was our first test in 1982. Though test is long you kept my patience tested a lot & i loved watching . But for last few months all crazy things happened put my like away.

    but You team had made a mirracle before end of the year .. thanks alot. selecting right players has done it. if my gutt feeling is correct , Chamndimal had to be added about 10 test matches back to the team.. He has proved the value. Now he has to learn the patience . Why not calling upul tharanga back into tests. my ffeling is by now tharanga should be our captain. we need him in long run. well it is duty of team to show this is not a miracle in next test. it is all about having the same unity. ggod luck fellows.

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    Hey, What happend to anti sri lanka indian fan s now. Are they slleeping now ? They criticized Sl team before the series. Please talk now ..

  • Praviya on December 30, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Dear Mr. Wessels, Agreed. We are useless in swinging conditions. You are pathetic when it turns..still...

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    A great win and a shattering experience to South Africa

  • on December 30, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    A great historic win and a shattering experience to Keppler Wessels who thought their A team could beat Sri Lanka.

  • Sinaha on December 30, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    Why didn't they play like this before against Pakistan? Was pay an issues? Anyways, it was a great team performance and Proteas eat humble pie in large chunks.

  • miles100 on December 30, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Well done SL for the team effort.However I don't know whether anyone noticed that the real match winner was Dinesh Chandimal the confident & Gutsy youngster.If he had got out in the first innnings for no runs like Kaushal Silva did,SL would have got out under 200 runs again.Even Second innings if he hadn't played well,SL would have got all out under 175 runs.His wicket keeping is also better than all other keepers in SL.Chandimal was brought into the side when he was around 19.This gives him confidence. Kuashal Silva, Chamara Silva,Kandamby,Para were brought into the side at the age of 24/25. This is why they rarely win matches for Sri Lanka.By saying that as young comers to the side,Mubarak was a poor political selection.Talented Kapu & Mahroof lost their way & cool unlike Chandimal.Briefly,they should not only bring under 21 players to the national side,but also to guide them with mental toughness.Dilshan mentioned in an SL press conference to play a few good 19year olds on SL side.

  • on December 30, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Thanx Kepler for your words, don't forget that we are Lions & we have shown that. Be confident about your team (SA), even I like SA but don't b over confident. Don't under estimate any team in any game. Hope SL will continue with it's performance in future also.

  • CricSpirit on December 30, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    CONGRATULATION SRI LANKA!!!!! Afterall I hope the Proteas (Wessels & Donald) will think twice before they make any comments on media. Representing SA for so many years should have enough experience to realised that cricket is funny game and should be played in the true spirit and win without making comments to put SL down.

  • on December 30, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan it was great to listen and watch the arrogant South African commentators bowing down and accepting that the Sri Lankans played a better game of cricket in Durban. Sri Lankans were humble in victory unlike the South Africans who made media statements about playing golf on the 5th day and that their A team could beat us. The wickets prepared to suit their own pace attack, back fired. Smith and Prince were well caught in the slips off rising balls from Dilhara. Watching the game until 2.00 am in the morning I felt so proud of the performance of the entire team. In victory or in defeat we are all proud Sri Lankans. Antonian

  • stormy16 on December 30, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    Yes a win to savor indeed and surely its one of the all time upsets and for SL to have a debutant play a critical role in tthe game is hopefully a sign of things to come. It is significant that that all the other key players in that win are over 34 except Welagedera who is 30.

  • Charindra on December 30, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Kepler Wessels must be feeling like a million dollars now! :D :D

  • TYJAY on December 30, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    Dilshan should be dropped from the side.

  • rukii on December 30, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    I agree with Lillian Thomson Sl should give more chances to younger but young batsmen should give their first chances in tests rather than in shorter formats. Other than Darren Bravo there is rarely a new batsmen who suits tests. Virat kohili, raina umar akmal and even dinesh chandimal dosent look like test batsman these players have huge talent but their talent is abused by the shorter formats and IPL.

  • IanJF on December 30, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    When Mahela, Matthews and Dilshan join the party - things wont get any easier on the Proteas !! I cant wait for Mendis & Malinga to join the ODI side..

  • AidanFX on December 30, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    LillianThomson - your views are strange; you say Sangakarra is holding the team back but he made a crucial century. He still has a few years in him; he is hardly holding back an otherwise young team. Herath may be 34 but in terms of the game was granted man of the match - whether he couldn't get a game when Muttiah was playing is immaterial now. You have isolated two crucial men. Jayawardene has stats which rivals the likes of Ponting, Kallis and co so a struggling team need not put such an important player away. SL have got time to ease other talent around the country as the time for this guys to depart nears.

  • shazran1984 on December 30, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    Well Played Lion . Thoroughly deserve a win & true its the Brand of cricket .

  • on December 30, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Hats Off to SL team, Mr.Moonda please be humble enough to accept the deafeat to SA rather than winging about defeat Mr.Weseles thank you very much for your encouragment that you gave Mr.Arnorld thanks for your courages and positive effort in commentry box with all those ludicrous bias commentators Sanga well done mate you prove who is the best Chandimal you are our future,but learn from your seinors Rangana you showed how to ball spin in thier so called "Green Mumba" Samaraweera great courage mate Mahela we need you to fire up in next one Thisara more line and length and bit more patients in your batting Ange please show your true ability Dilhara more accuracy Welagedara good work mate keep it up Paranawithana w need more resistance from the top Dilshan nead runs mate and be patient you can take them apart If we can get all these right we can win this series

    Kallis you showed you true colours about spirit of the game

  • cjanap on December 30, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    To FIRDOSE n KW.... its a universal basic to respect ur opponent... Seeing the way u all downgraded Sri Lanka in a disgraceful manner(may be it was part of SA team strategy n u two are paid for it!),it was just a matter of time till an insulted opponent fightback with venom.... i suggest u all to eat humble pies...think n prepare the greenest pitch ever( not to mention about the firdose article showing the green pitch of kingsmead before the 2nd test!) for ur green track bullies!!!..>.LOL

  • Sinhabahu on December 30, 2011, 1:42 GMT

    A superb team effort with centuries by Thilan and Sanga, half-centuries on debut by Chandimal (who I'm certain will grow up to be one of the best, if not the best, batsman of his generation) and superb bowling especially by Herath and Welegedara, not to mention Mahela getting to 10,000 runs. Captain Dilshan and the boys must be smiling from ear to ear. This is our greatest Test win since The Oval, 1998. The criticism from certain pundits make this victory even sweeter, and now to keep improving from here onwards.

  • on December 30, 2011, 0:28 GMT

    Great victory, SL! Kudos to Rangana Herath on a great performance and sense of humility by crediting the entire team. Cricket is a team game after all and if SL cricket is to move forward it will be as a team.

  • SLfan on December 30, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Mr. Kepler Wessels, according to your logic now South Africa 'A' team should be able to beat SA team, right ? So, why not replace SA team with SA 'A' team ??

  • prksinghg on December 29, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    @LillianThomson I totally agree with Lillion. SL have to face some serious challenges in the future regarding their bowling department. RH is already 34 and we cannot see anyone close to that level in our domestic tournament.Although Ajantha and sekkuge seems to be very effective with making lot of variations of bowling they cannot turn the ball a lot.This is something they need to work on, because it is a must for test cricket. and i am not sure how much it going to be succeed. on the other hand i dont think we have lot of problems with our batting department and we have enough newbies in line to take up the challenge. I think now its time to give an opportunity to bhanuka and he should start as a number 7 batsmen without much responsibility.we can give chances to these guys by time ti time until we got permanent vacancies in the team.UT is also a type of player who can play test as well.Angelo perera is aslo in line but we may be able to find someone even better within next three y

  • on December 29, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    What an awesome feeling, no words to describe it ....

  • on December 29, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    well done lions.......people haven't left me anything to say about KV........anyway thats fine.....this is brilliant stuff from SL boys....wish you best of luck to win next game and to win the series........GO LIONS!!!!!!!

  • on December 29, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    Now Matthews does not bowl....he will have to improve on his batting otherwise the search will commence for another genuine allrounder. Chandimal has the advantage he is also the wicketkeeper.Ruvi47

  • on December 29, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Kepler you have to eat your own words now. Well done Sri Lanka. I am sure SA will win the 3 rd test by preparing a very green top and sending your FULL team.

  • Sanath-aiyya on December 29, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    So happy that my beloved sri lankan team put up a fighting performance that ulitmately dominated south africa.... and am also overjoyed that the ARROGANT INDIANS who were writing sri lanka off were utterly humbled by Aussies

  • tennakoon63 on December 29, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    Press is all praise for Sri Lanka? Did the Sri Lanka national team beat SA A team? Where are the critics? Good job guys. Go with confidence and play the third test. Do let complacency over come you guys. Be strong and committed.

  • LillianThomson on December 29, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    It's lovely for Sri Lanka to get this win, but it owes more to South Africa's expanding flaws than it does to any Sri Lankan resurgence. Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan are ageing and need to be replaced one by one so that three years from now Sri Lanka don't replicate India now, with three past-it batsman blocking the development of a younger generation and then retiring simultaneously. As for the bowling, there's nothing to say. Welegedara is already 30 and his pace will slump even lower. Herath is almost 34 and couldn't get a game when Murali was around. The task for India and Sri Lanka's selectors is stark. Either allow the batting veterans to go on and on and on, which will mean managing the team's decline. Or replace them one by one and give the team a chance to evolve and regenerate.

  • on December 29, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    I think this is a great answer to those who belittle Sri Lanka, saying that they can only win at home. Given the amount of limited exposure, this is quite an achievement. Australia in Australia and India in India remain to be defeated. Hopefully now SL will be given more tests as opposed to getting a test every 6-7 years. SL last played in SA in 2002,

  • Gaartjie on December 29, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    There is something magical about the Sri Lankan team. There's an effervescence which makes them a delight to watch. Samaraweera has to be the most happy-go-lucky player in world cricket today. His enjoyment of the game is wonderful to see. And Chandimal's verbal support from behind the wicket energizes not only the team but also those watching on TV! Each player brings something positive to the team and their victory is an inspiration to us all.

  • on December 29, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    great to see srilanka win. the world cricket needs this!

  • on December 29, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    go on Lanka! Best Of Luck!

  • KingOwl on December 29, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    This win is certainly a surprise, not because SA are better than SL but because SA are playing at home and SL have had a rough patch recently. But seriously, to write off SL is a bit daft isn't it? Even in one of their worst years in cricket, they reached the WC finals. They went to England in Spring when the ball is seaming yards (not Summer, mind you) and lost the three test series 1-0 just because of one horrid session; whereas India who traveled next - in the proper Summer - were white-washed by England. That comparison should have said something about the fighting abilities of this team. I feel that the SA press were a bit dumb, to be frank, in their over the top negative remarks.

  • Dhushan on December 29, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    Many CONGRATULATIONS to the Sri Lankan cricket team for a fantastic all round performance. As said above, no one including myself believed that this was possible. I was hoping for more in the lines of drawn matches but a 1st ever win in test cricket in South African soil will be remembered forever. Please do not underestimate the Proteas and play consistently in the last test. All the very best LIONS!!!

  • Lord.emsworth on December 29, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    I and many have been strong critics of the SL team since the England tour and I'm glad if our criticism has spurred the SL team to show their mettle. Congragulations!. Its condesending though to hear the cricinfo commentary saying that this was SL's greatest test achievemnet. Dont think so. SL trounced England by 220 runs at the oval in 1998 in the 1st one off test they were given. Ranatunga & co. created cricket history then. Murali took 16 wickets for 220, Jayasuriya scored a blistering 213 and Aravinda de Silva 152!

  • on December 29, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    Pity on Kepler vessels, he has to eat his own words now. btw, will Chandimal be relieved of keeping duties & promoted to no. 3?

  • on December 29, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    "Chamnimalogy" is a new word for the English Dictionary.... well played guys and it was a great team effort. Thilan, Rangana, Sanga, Chandimal, Welagedara and not to undone the efforts of MR. No Ball Junction..LOL you all did well to captura a collective glory for all of SL fans, TYVM :) PS. This is the winning formula for post Murali era =team work!!!

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  • on December 29, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    "Chamnimalogy" is a new word for the English Dictionary.... well played guys and it was a great team effort. Thilan, Rangana, Sanga, Chandimal, Welagedara and not to undone the efforts of MR. No Ball Junction..LOL you all did well to captura a collective glory for all of SL fans, TYVM :) PS. This is the winning formula for post Murali era =team work!!!

  • on December 29, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    Pity on Kepler vessels, he has to eat his own words now. btw, will Chandimal be relieved of keeping duties & promoted to no. 3?

  • Lord.emsworth on December 29, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    I and many have been strong critics of the SL team since the England tour and I'm glad if our criticism has spurred the SL team to show their mettle. Congragulations!. Its condesending though to hear the cricinfo commentary saying that this was SL's greatest test achievemnet. Dont think so. SL trounced England by 220 runs at the oval in 1998 in the 1st one off test they were given. Ranatunga & co. created cricket history then. Murali took 16 wickets for 220, Jayasuriya scored a blistering 213 and Aravinda de Silva 152!

  • Dhushan on December 29, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    Many CONGRATULATIONS to the Sri Lankan cricket team for a fantastic all round performance. As said above, no one including myself believed that this was possible. I was hoping for more in the lines of drawn matches but a 1st ever win in test cricket in South African soil will be remembered forever. Please do not underestimate the Proteas and play consistently in the last test. All the very best LIONS!!!

  • KingOwl on December 29, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    This win is certainly a surprise, not because SA are better than SL but because SA are playing at home and SL have had a rough patch recently. But seriously, to write off SL is a bit daft isn't it? Even in one of their worst years in cricket, they reached the WC finals. They went to England in Spring when the ball is seaming yards (not Summer, mind you) and lost the three test series 1-0 just because of one horrid session; whereas India who traveled next - in the proper Summer - were white-washed by England. That comparison should have said something about the fighting abilities of this team. I feel that the SA press were a bit dumb, to be frank, in their over the top negative remarks.

  • on December 29, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    go on Lanka! Best Of Luck!

  • on December 29, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    great to see srilanka win. the world cricket needs this!

  • Gaartjie on December 29, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    There is something magical about the Sri Lankan team. There's an effervescence which makes them a delight to watch. Samaraweera has to be the most happy-go-lucky player in world cricket today. His enjoyment of the game is wonderful to see. And Chandimal's verbal support from behind the wicket energizes not only the team but also those watching on TV! Each player brings something positive to the team and their victory is an inspiration to us all.

  • on December 29, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    I think this is a great answer to those who belittle Sri Lanka, saying that they can only win at home. Given the amount of limited exposure, this is quite an achievement. Australia in Australia and India in India remain to be defeated. Hopefully now SL will be given more tests as opposed to getting a test every 6-7 years. SL last played in SA in 2002,

  • LillianThomson on December 29, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    It's lovely for Sri Lanka to get this win, but it owes more to South Africa's expanding flaws than it does to any Sri Lankan resurgence. Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan are ageing and need to be replaced one by one so that three years from now Sri Lanka don't replicate India now, with three past-it batsman blocking the development of a younger generation and then retiring simultaneously. As for the bowling, there's nothing to say. Welegedara is already 30 and his pace will slump even lower. Herath is almost 34 and couldn't get a game when Murali was around. The task for India and Sri Lanka's selectors is stark. Either allow the batting veterans to go on and on and on, which will mean managing the team's decline. Or replace them one by one and give the team a chance to evolve and regenerate.