Sri Lanka 338 (Dhananjaya 60, Gunathilaka 57, Maharaj 9-129) & 275 for 5 decl (Karunaratne 85, Mathews 71, Maharaj 3-154) beat South Africa 124 (du Plessis 48, Dananjaya 5-52, Dilruwan 4-40) & 290 (de Bruyn 101, Bavuma 63, Herath 6-98) by 199 runs
Theunis de Bruyn scored his first Test century, in his sixth match, to make Sri Lanka work for their series win. But he could not prevent the inevitable. The hosts wrapped up victory 40 minutes after lunch on the fourth day, to seal the series 2-0.
Sri Lanka's spinners took all 20 wickets in the match, and 37 of South Africa's 40 wickets in the series. Dilruwan Perera finished as the joint leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps, level with Keshav Maharaj, South Africa's other standout performer from the second Test. Rangana Herath, playing in his penultimate series most likely, took 12 wickets across the two matches, including a second-innings six-for in Colombo, his 12th five-wicket haul in the fourth innings of a match.
Herath accounted for both South Africa's main resistors on the fourth day - de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma. The pair shared South Africa's first century stand of the series, and became the only two players in their line-up to bring up fifties on the tour. Their 123-run stand is the highest by a South African pair in the fourth innings of a match in Asia. It took the Test into an 11th session, but South Africa still lost inside four days.
On the evidence of South Africa's previous three innings, Sri Lanka would have been justified in thinking they would take the remaining five wickets quickly on the fourth morning, but they were made to wait until 10 minutes before lunch for a breakthrough. De Bruyn and Bavuma were confident on the sweep shot and forced Sri Lanka to look further than their three main spinners, with Suranga Lakmal having his first bowl of the match in the 55th over, and Dhananjaya de Silva and Danushka Gunathilaka both turning their arms over.
De Bruyn showed, for the first time at international level, why he is much lauded in the domestic franchise game and may have made a strong case to be persisted with at No. 3 with a display of strong temperament and impressive strokeplay. Bavuma, who is often criticised for his slow scoring rate, took a much more positive approach and scored his 63 runs in 98 balls, a strike rate of almost 65.
Their morning was not without its nerves. Dilruwan reviewed for a catch at short leg when Bavuma was on 20 but Ultra Edge showed there was no contact between bat and ball, as the delivery turned down leg and Sri Lanka lost their first review. De Bruyn almost sent a Herath delivery into the hands of Angelo Mathews at slip but the next ball he faced, he punched through the covers to bring up his maiden Test fifty, in 118 balls.
Both batsmen grew in confidence as the session went on, despite the number of times Sri Lanka's bowlers seemed to have the better of them. Herath beat Bavuma on the front foot often but the batsman bisected square leg and fine leg to send a Herath delivery to the boundary; Herath also drew a leading edge from de Bruyn that fell safe but de Bruyn established authority with shots like the pull off Lakmal to square leg. Bavuma's half-century came off 69 balls, and he may have been eyeing a long-overdue second Test hundred but, with lunch looming, pushed forward to a Herath delivery and was caught behind.
Quinton de Kock opened his account with a reverse-sweep, which suggested his time in the middle could be fun, but it ended on the stroke of lunch. De Kock was given out lbw to a Herath delivery and the batsman reviewed. Replays showed "umpires call" on leg stump to end a disappointing tour for de Kock, who scored 53 runs in four innings.
De Bruyn may have been concerned about running out of partners as his hundred approached but Kagiso Rabada negotiated the second new ball well to stay with him for an eighth-wicket stand of 34. Rabada even showed off his own prowess, with a thunderous six over Herath's head. De Bruyn brought up his century off 228 balls with a paddle to fine leg and was dismised four balls later, leaving an arm ball, to give Herath his fifth.
Three balls later, Rabada edged Dilruwan to first slip and in the next over, Steyn smacked Herath for six and then tried to slog him over the top but only got the toe end of his bat and was caught at long-on. Herath's six-for was not enough to earn him the Man-of-the-Match award, which went to Dimuth Karunaratne, who was also named Man of the Series. Karunaratne scored 356 runs in the series, more than double his nearest competitor, opening partner Gunathilaka, who racked up 161. South Africa's top-scorer was fourth on the list - Faf du Plessis with 105 runs.