The Lankan Lions Tasted First Test Victory after Muralitharan’s Retirement

Rangana Herath
Rangana Herath

Sri Lanka bounced back strongly in the second Test against South Africa and won the match authoritatively with a huge margin of 208 runs as Rangana Herath made their life difficult in the match and grabbed nine wickets. It was their first and long awaited victory after the retirement of the great off spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan as they suffered a lot because of his retirement.

The islanders scored 338 runs in their first innings and the home side displayed poor batting and managed 168 runs. Kumar Sangakkara came to the rescue of the tourists in the second innings by thrashing 108 runs and led them to a comfortable score of 279 runs. They set a difficult target of 449 runs to win the match for Proteas but they were bolwed out at 241 runs.

Herath was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his deadly spin bowling in the match.

The match was played at Kingsmead, Durban, and was forced to an end by the Sri Lankans one day earlier than the scheduled closure on December 29, 2011.

The visitors had scored 256 runs after losing seven wickets in their second innings at the close of the third day’s play, Thisara Perera and Herath were unbeaten on six and five runs respectively. They could just add 23 runs before their innings was folded back on 279 runs.

Dale Steyn was the pick of the bowlers from South Africa with five wickets, Morne Morkal and Imran Tahir shared two wickets each as Marchant de Lange earned one wicket.

The home side made a reasonable start of their second innings as their opening pair contributed 37 runs when Graeme Smith was gone at 26 runs. Jacques Rodolph and Hashim Amla consolidated the innings by adding 51 runs for the second wicket before the earlier lost his wicket after scoring 22 runs.

The ever experienced Jacques Kallis continued with his poor form in the match and earned golden duck which put South Africa under tremendous pressure. The miseries continued when Amla was unluckily run out when he was playing well at 51 runs. AB de Villiers held one end with determination when Herath took over and countdown was begun for the home side towards disaster. Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher could not read the lethal deliveries of Herath and both of them became his victim at seven runs each.

Dale Steyn provided ample support to de Villiers and the duo had a prosperous partnership of 99 runs for the seventh wicket before the later was declared leg before wicket off Herath on 69 runs. The last hope was lost for the Proteas and hearth done the rest by claiming the remaining wickets which included a well fought innings of 43 runs by Steyn.
The whole team was sent back to the pavilion on 241 runs in 87.3 overs and they had no answer to the penetrative bowling of the rival team.

Herath stole the show by clinching five wickets, Dilhara Fernando held two wickets as Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan shared one wicket each.

Sri Lanka has levelled the series 1-1 as they had lost the first Test at Centurion, the series has become alive as the third and final Test will be start on January 3, 2011, at Cape Town.


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