Time, then, to say adieu from the international commentary box for 2011. A superb year, with lot of high-quality cricket, even if some of the best series were two-match shoot-outs. Hoping for more such classics next year, may be a little less contention around DRS. On behalf of my mates at ESPNcricinfo, this is Nitin Sundar saying so long, and thanks for all the fish. See you in 2012!
Sid Ravi's report has all you need to know about what transpired today. I suspect this match report will be read many times over the years, and perhaps this is where Sri Lankan cricket turns the definitive corner as a force in Test cricket. We'll soon have a lot of analysis and comment from Madame Firdose Moonda who is in Durban. Do check in for that.
It is dark and gloomy in Durban, but as they say, it is always the darkest just before the dawn. What an arena to win your first Test of the post-Murali era! What a heart-warming turnaround this, and what a way to round off one of the greatest years of Test cricket in recent times! Sri Lanka have hurtled from one low to another after a sizzling run to the World Cup final. Their board ran into losses, their Twenty20 league was forced to be scrapped. The cash-strapped board couldn't pay the players, and one defeat followed another. They hurtled to an embarrassing loss in Cardiff, in a Test where it rained for more time than there was play, and proceeded to lose every single Test and ODI series they played in the year. They took a hammering of epic proportions in the first Test here. Who'd have thought they could make this turnaround happen? Take a bow, Sri Lanka! Cricket is richer for having you guys in the fold.
Presentation time: Smith: "We were outplayed comprehensively in all departments. Credit to Dilshan and his team. The surface probably suited their style of play better. Our bad sessions were really bad, and that was disappointing. Great to have depth in bowling. Vernon does so well, and then Marchant comes in and impresses. It is exciting to have these guys. Important Test ahead of us to start 2012." No talk there of quitting as captain. The rumours can wait for a while.
Dilshan: "Great comeback for us. Really happy to have my first win as captain in South Africa. I think our intensity was high from the moment we won the toss and chose to bat. If we put runs in the board, we knew we could put pressure on them, and that happened. Thilan batted really well with Chandimal, on debut. Sanga too made a fantastic effort, and everyone of us chipped in - Welegedara, Herath... this was a real team effort. Our fans know we can beat any team if we play our Sri Lankan brand of cricket. We just need to take this to Newlands."
We are informed that Rangana Herath is the Man of the Match. "Very happy with the way we played. A great moment for Sri Lankan cricket. So happy, this is unbelievable to win in South Africa! There was something in it for the spinners, so I knew I would get a lot of overs. The fielding was great, Sanga and Thilan made great centuries, and that's what made this possible."
de Lange comes out. Sri Lanka will believe they don't need an extra half hour. Five balls left in this over.
Two wickets to go. Tahir marches out to the middle. We can have an extra half hour tonight, but I doubt that light would allow it.
"If SA are saved by rain tomorrow, everyone should become an atheist," says Kieron.