|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
At Cape Town, January 2, 3, 4. South Africa won by an innings and 229 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's escape at Durban was followed by their annihilation at Cape Town. Electing to bat on a pitch offering good bounce and helpful seam movement, the tourists dissolved for a pitiful 95. Pollock despatched four shell-shocked top-order batsmen for 13; then Ngam obliterated the back-up forces with aggression to match his new nickname - "Black Thunder", as successor to "White Lightning", Allan Donald. He had to wait until the sixth wicket before getting his name in the scorebook, but it belonged to the top-scorer, Sangakkara, who dealt with the pace onslaught in a manner his team-mates could only dream about.
Eight batsmen were caught between slip and gully or at short leg, before tailenders Zoysa and Muralitharan offered tame catches to the bowler and mid-off respectively. It was a perfect exhibition, albeit a sorry one, of how not to play quick bowling. Pollock's six for 30 was the best return by a South African captain, though he quickly pointed out: "Not many of our captains have been bowlers."
Unable to counter fire with fire, the tourists could offer little more than a lukewarm tea-towel. Cullinan led the charge with his 12th Test century, a South African record, and his fifth against Sri Lanka. It was as measured as a Major-winning round of golf, shot after shot finishing just where he intended without apparent effort. But after four and three-quarter hours, he failed to make enough effort to complete a second run, and left the field with a dozen fours, three sixes and a contented smile.
South Africa's reply had begun in surreal style. Gibbs received a standing ovation from his home crowd as he walked out for his first international innings after a six-month suspension for involvement in Hansie Cronje's match-fixing schemes. The applause had hardly died down when he edged his second delivery to Sangakkara, who had taken the gloves from Kaluwitharana to accommodate an extra batsman. To some, Gibbs's fall was poetic justice after the unseemly haste of his recall, 24 hours after the suspension expired and at the expense of Boeta Dippenaar, who had scored a maiden Test century three weeks before against New Zealand.
Two more local boys settled the crowd. Kirsten, equalling Cronje's South African record of 68 Test caps, nudged a gravelly fifty, yet still outscored the grimly determined Kallis, who finally edged a perfect away-swinger from Fernando after a somnambulant 49. They had built a solid platform for Cullinan, however. By the time Nos 6 and 7 arrived at the crease, the bowlers were completely demoralised; Boucher and Klusener clubbed them repeatedly to the boundary until both perished carelessly to occasional spinner Arnold in sight of their centuries. Boucher top-edged a sweep to deep backward square leg, while Klusener smashed a long-hop to square leg, where Jayasuriya held a catch that should have done him an injury.
Having recorded their lowest total against South Africa, Sri Lanka batted again facing a deficit of 409. Once Ngam had made a double breakthrough in his first four overs - Jayasuriya fended his second ball to gully - they went rapidly downhill. Unexpectedly, the middle order was dismissed by left-arm spinner Boje, whose guile and variation they appeared to underestimate. Jayawardene batted pleasantly for 45, and Vaas belted an entertaining 38 from 26 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes. But this late flourish could not avert a three-day defeat. An innings and 229 runs represented South Africa's largest victory, Sri Lanka's heaviest defeat, and the ninth most decisive Test result ever.
Man of the Match: S. M. Pollock.