South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day January 6, 2012

South Africa win first home series since 2008


South Africa 580 for 4 decl. (Kallis 224, de Villiers 160*, Petersen 109) and 2 for 0 beat Sri Lanka 239 (Dilshan 78, Philander 3-46, Steyn 3-56) and 342 (Samaraweera 115*, Kallis 3-35) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa won their first home series since 2008, a period in which they had been denied on five occasions, prevailing over Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to take the rubber 2-1. An innings defeat seemed the most likely result at the start of the day, but a wicketless pre-lunch session and another century from the resurgent Thilan Samaraweera helped Sri Lanka barely avoid that ignominy.

Needing two runs to win in the fourth innings, South Africa got home without facing a legal delivery, with Dhammika Prasad over-stepping and Alviro Petersen punching down the ground to trigger relief and smiles in the home camp. Graeme Smith has now captained his side to 41 Test wins - joint second with Steve Waugh in the all-time list. Only Ricky Ponting, with 48, lies ahead.

Once again, Vernon Philander made the breakthroughs for South Africa in a passage when they were beginning to look listless. Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews had extended their overnight association to 142 runs, and were looking at ease against the second new ball, when Philander ended the fun with a double-strike. The tail slogged along merrily, while Samaraweera chiselled his way to three-figures. Jacques Kallis and Imran Tahir side-stepped his defiance, and ended the innings at the stroke of tea.

Samaraweera's effort took his series tally to 339 runs, and put to rest all doubts over his ability to handle conditions outside the subcontinent. His century was only the fourth by a Sri Lankan in this country, with three of them coming on this tour, but it wasn't enough to extend the match to the fifth day.

As on the third evening, South Africa were persistent with their lines of attack at the start of play, but the rewards were not so readily available. The closest they came to getting a wicket before lunch was when Samaraweera was stranded mid-pitch following a misunderstanding with Mathews. Petersen picked up rapidly in the covers and had a good sight of the stumps as he threw, but missed. A little later, Mathews came close to being run out, but this time Hashim Amla's throw went wide.

Barring those two scares, Sri Lanka had few concerns in the morning. Samaraweera got going with a neat flick through square leg off the day's second ball, and a couple of controlled edges through the off side. Thereafter, he settled down to wait and pick off the leg-stump offerings that came his way. He got to his fifty by steering Tahir to third man as the first hour drew to a close. Mathews' first boundary of the morning came off a thick edge that flew past the cordon, but he gradually buckled down to seal his end. Progress came through dabs and tucks, until Tahir slipped a full toss on the pads that Mathews whipped expertly to the boundary.

With the pitch slowing down and seam movement absent, Smith moved the cordon from behind the wicket to front. Armed with the old ball, Kallis sent down an energetic spell of fast bumpers, with slip, short leg, short cover, silly mid-on, and later leg slip, in place, but Samaraweera stayed firm. The gambit had failed, and it was over to Philander with the second new ball.

Sensing the pivotal moment of the day, Samaraweera took Philander on. He cracked one square, plastered another down the ground, and pulled emphatically to take three boundaries in an over. Philander persevered, though, and dispatched Mathews in his next over, with an indipper that kept low to hit the pads. Two overs later, Dinesh Chandimal perished to a lazy waft away from the body, giving Kallis his fifth sharp catch in the match, all of them in the slips. He would later come on to hold a sixth off his own bowling, to go with three wickets and a double-century. The Man-of-the-Match adjudicators had an open-and-shut case in front of them.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amol on January 8, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    ...And now SA should prepare for the NZL series keeping in mind that there are two tougher tours up next after that - the mouth-watering ENG and then against old-rival AUS. I hope this time they polish their skills and iron out their faults against NZL because if they want to do that in ENG in order to get to the Numero Uno Ranking, they won't get the opportunity there. I hope there are no slip-ups like against SRL and this year they have enough tests to to prove themselves, shut up the critics and get to the Top.

  • Aiman on January 7, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    I would like to point out that I believe that there may be a mistake in the scoring at the end of this game. I believe that Petersen hit a 4 to win the game, not a single which is recorded, even though in the description it says it went for four. I apologise in advance if I have made a mistake, but thought I would point it out.

  • Srinivas on January 7, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Congratulations to SA. But a series victory against SL at home in nearly 3 years has taken the sheen off it a bit. SA are a much better team than their below par record suggests.

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    If not samaraweera Durban win is a dream only.Because of his batting we had a first inning lead and it create presure for SA.Not to forget bowlers performance as well.But still we have lot of issues to solve to make our team good.First we have think our opening pair Dilshan is ok but he need to bat sensibly.Tharanga also should play Test.Thisara should not play instead Ajantha must play.Lasith also return to test, then we can make good Test Team.If Lasith played in SA the result could have been differant.His yorkers will be very handy to the tailenders.Even for top order. And specialy our batsmans were thrown their Wkts on no of occasions.Eg. Dilshan (twice),Sanga,Mahela,Angy, etc.Hence here after our batters should be very careful in SA,ENG,AUS etc.

  • Harsha on January 7, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    Series ended with south Africa having more problems than Sri Lanka.sf should have got 3-0 where as it ended at 2-1 with sl first win in sf.recent uncertainty in sf batting was again expose by lankans and I believe though they can get a 2 nd chance in their home they will suffer abroad with current set up.I predict sf will loose to nz in nz since this sf team is not reliable.

  • Lalindra on January 7, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    I believe with all my heart that being a fan is all about being there for a team when it wins and loses... Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't played a sport or simply doesn't understand all that it takes; For every team brings the possibility of a loss to the table when it settles down to win... Never a fan of victory - Always a fan of Sri Lanka Cricket..

  • Lalindra on January 7, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    True, winner takes it all ! But nvr forget ! Looser gonna get thr vry soon ;-) . . . No regrets :-D !

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    I guess that there is just a little odd comes up with a sub continent batsman that he would struggle in pace tracks regardless how great player he is. The same can be said about a non sub continent batsman who will struggle against spinners in Asian tracks. It is something coming from origin. Asians are not big in size or strong enough as non Asians. They used to do things tactically. Similar to Chinese/ Singapore Net ball players who use their quickness and agility plus some highly planned strategies to come over with their size disadvantage. Asians are preferred to do things in slow but an effective manner. For the others it is a different ball game. I can give even more examples but it is clear as you said. This is a different world. The thing is that both venues(Sub-continent and outside) should be treated the same way and a good player means who ever performed fair enough in both. Sachin who has a fair enough average outside India (It doesn't need to be higher than in India) s

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    this is something i saw on yahoo answers, i think this should get more attention bcz i post it here.

    I heard once Mahela Jayawardene came to bat and as his stats were shown on the screen, the commentator Kepler Wessels said that he is a good player but he has to improve his stats outside Asia. You know what? That is right. He certainly should. But I have never heard a commentator saying that Rickie Ponting should improve his performances in India! Many of those non Asian commentators and cricket experts say that a good batsman should have to have a better record outside Asia and it is a must. But no one says that a good batsman should have a fairly good record at sub-content too. And that is really surprising. Both spin and greenish pitches should be accepted in the same manner. The point is that every country does pitch doctoring. Australia often curate the pitches to make the Asian batsman struggle. Once Ranatunge said that it was quite hard to recognize the pitch from the groun

  • SAM on January 7, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    How can people be so critical about the team, which lost just one series. Srilanka is good team which has produced different brieds of crickeketers, may not be greats of the game but certainly quality cricketers

  • No featured comments at the moment.