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ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the third Test at Cape Town
Firdose Moonda at Newlands
January 6, 2012
News : 'Best bowling performance of the summer' - Smith
Report : South Africa win first home series since 2008
Players/Officials: Mark Boucher | Rangana Herath | Imran Tahir | Jacques Kallis | Angelo Mathews | Morne Morkel | Alviro Petersen | Vernon Philander | Dhammika Prasad | Thilan Samaraweera | Graeme Smith | Chanaka Welegedara
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of South Africa
Comedy of the day South Africa expected to finish things off early on the fourth morning but were denied by stubborn resistance from Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Matthews. Their best chance of dislodging one of the pair came with a run-out opportunity. Matthews defended the ball into the covers and called for the run. By the time he decided against it, Samaraweera was halfway down the pitch and Alviro Petersen had his eye trained on the stumps. Samaraweera gave up but Petersen's throw went completely wrong and found Morne Morkel at mid-on, allowing Samaraweera enough time to get back.
Shot of the day Samaraweera made full use of his let off in the morning session and played a second convincing knock on tour. He scored the bulk of his runs on the leg side but his best shot came with a pin straight drive down the ground off Vernon Philander, South Africa's most threatening bowler. The delivery was full and Samaraweera used the length to play an aerial shot past Philander that raced to the boundary for four.
Review of the day With the match heading to an inevitable conclusion, reviews were expected to be plentiful and careless. Graeme Smith decided to go upstairs for an appeal for a catch off Thilan Samaraweera when everyone including Mark Boucher was unconvinced that he had hit it. But the desperate review came when Matthews was given out lbw off Philander. The ball struck him below the knee roll, in front of middle stump and all he may have been wondering was whether it was going to hit the top half of the wickets or the bottom. Matthews was obviously trying to prolong his stand with Samaraweera but no amount of technology could help him do that.
Wicket of the day South Africa needed six sticks to finish the series off and the best of them was the one that saw Rangana Herath walk back to the changing room. A fired up Jacques Kallis, who has been bowling spells of over 140 kph, banged one in short. Herath was done for pace and lobbed the ball up to Kallis, who took the catch stooping low in his follow-through. It gave him his third wicket and his sixth pouch - a record for the most number of catches by an outfielder at Newlands and equalled the record for the most number of catches by a South African in a match. And alongside his 224, the obvious man of the match.
Aerial shot of the day The innings was coming to a close, Sri Lanka's lower order decided to have some fun in the sun. Dhammika Prasad had two lucky escapes while lashing out. When he mis-hit Imran Tahir to long off, Morne Morkel spilled the catch as Tahir was already halfway towards him. Famous for his over-the-top celebrations, Tahir was also mid air-punch when he had to turn back to his mark. Two balls later, Prasad tried to take Tahir on again and swing wildly to mid-wicket. The ball swirled in the air but eluded Petersen to leave Tahir in distress again.
Mini-milestone of the day Sri Lanka will be able to take some heart from making South Africa bat again, even if it was only to score two runs. Chanaka Welegedara gave his team the most slender lead when he smashed Kallis for six, over his head, the ball before being clean bowled. Sri Lanka avoided an innings defeat and prolonged the match for an extra 10 minutes. It took just one ball, which not a legitimate delivery as Prasad overstepped, to end the match and give South Africa their first series win at home since 2008. The first target in Test matches ever achieved off 0.0 overs.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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