Graeme Smith started his innings with a rope around his neck but managed to escape the noose with an aggressive 68. He was gifted deliveries on the pads, which he could thump into the leg side, and then played the shot that suggested he was not done yet. Smith lunged forward to Thisara Perera's fourth ball and slammed it past the bowler. Alviro Petersen, who was at the non-striker's end, had to take evasive action quickly and tumbled over in his attempt to avoid getting hit.
Smith was on 46 when AB de Villiers came to the crease. As usual, the new South Africa captain was in a hurry and called Smith for a single off the first ball he faced. de Villiers had merely nudged to cover and would have been taking a risk even if he had someone speedy, like JP Duminy or Faf du Plessis, at the other end. Desperate not to lose his wicket before reaching a milestone, Smith sped through but would have been out if the throw was better. Even though Kumar Sangakkara was able to the collect the wide throw and get the bails off, Smith was home.
Sri Lanka had knocked off a third of the target, and Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan were settling in, when Petersen punctured their partnership. Sangakkara latched on to a Robin Peterson delivery and dispatched it over midwicket. On most days of the year, it would have been six but on January 20, it was his exit pass. Petersen was just inside the rope and timed his jump to perfection, leaping with both arms up, snatching the ball out of the air and keeping his balance to avoid falling over as he landed. Petersen's celebration was remarkably understated.
Sri Lanka had started to settle into the pound seat when they almost fell right out of it. Thisara Perera nudged the ball into the on-side and called for the run. When he saw how tight it would be, he decided against it, but his partner Dinesh Chandimal was almost at the striker's end. The batsmen had given up when Vernon Philander threw to the wrong end, the wicketkeeper's end, and Perera made his ground there. Chandimal was still in danger and began to sprint as AB de Villiers threw the ball to the non-striker's end. The throw was wide and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was backing up, couldn't collect it in time so both batsmen survived.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent