Kusal Perera smashed scorching 153 runs to help Sri Lanka pull off a historic win over South Africa in the opening Test of the series played at Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban. In pursuit of 304 runs to win the game, Perera produced a herculean effort with the bat to help Sri Lanka steal an improbable win against South Africa.
Skipper Faf du Plessis will need to take the blame as he continued to persevere with negative game plans against Kusal Perera.
Left-hander produced a memorable innings which reminded many of Brian Lara’s mind-boggling effort against Australia in a Test match played in Barbados in 1999. Perera took calculated risks and put on unbeaten 78 runs with Vishwa Fernando to compete an incredible win at Durban. With this result, Sri Lanka’s two wins in South Africa have come at Durban.
Perera took the attack and smashed a couple of fours and sixes against Keshav Maharaj and Duanne Olivier. South Africa’s negative tactics saw them lose the plot as Sri Lanka took one step closers towards winning the game.
Vishwa Fernando batted well and managed to play well against the short-pitch stuff thrown by South African bowlers. Perera smashed a six and then a boundary to seal a historic win for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka were comfortably at 206 for 5 with just 98 runs to win the game. Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj turned things around for South Africa and dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva and Suranga Lakmal in a space of few deliveries.
Kusal Perera led the way with the bat to see Sri Lanka to pull off an incredible heist over Sri Lanka in the opening game of the series played in Durban.
Tail-enders Lasith Embuldeniya and Kasun Rajitha also could not survive any much longer to see Sri Lanka reduced to 226 for 9 with another 78 runs to win.
The big shift in momentum came when Kusal Perera added 96 runs with Dhananjaya de Silva to keep Sri Lanka in the hunt to win the game. Dhananjaya de Silva played well and scored 48 off 79 balls with the help of six fours. Oshada Fernando also chipped with 37 runs for the side in the second innings.
Earlier in the game, South Africa batted first and were bundled out for 235 runs in 59.4 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 191 runs in 59.2 overs. With the lead of 44 runs, South Africa once again failed to cross 300 runs and were dismissed for 259 runs to set a score of 304 runs for Sri Lanka to win the game.
Kusal Perera was named man for his belligerent 153 runs off 200 balls to help Sri Lanka ace the chase.
The Islanders have taken 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series. The second and final game of the series will be played in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.