Sri Lanka Seal Thrilling Victory Kusal Perera'is An Incredible Hit > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Sri Lanka seal thrilling win after Kusal Perera's astonishing knock

Kusal Perera essayed an innings for the ages to give Sri Lanka a memorable win

Not since the dramatic series-levelling win in Durban in 2011-12 have Sri Lanka come close to registering a win in South Africa. On Saturday (February 16), at the same venue, the visitors produced a classic on the fourth day as Kusal Perera's unbeaten 200-ball 153 carried the team to a thrilling one-wicket win. Bangladesh had faltered and then the Indian fans saw their team getting bullied in two chases. Pakistan were no match too but Dimuth Karunaratne's batch did exceptionally well to ace the chase.

Perera's knock rekindled the memories of the Brian Lara classic against Australia in Bridgetown in 1999. Perera's late assault successfully transferred the pressure on South Africa as he steadily helped Sri Lanka march towards the target. The left-hander found an able partner in Vishwa Fernando as they were involved in an undefeated 78 for the final wicket - a record stand for a tenth wicket in a win. In the first innings, Perera took the aggressive route too early and saw his team fold for a modest score. In the second innings, he held his attacking strokes back until the deficit was under 90.

The assault started only in the 74th over with a reverse sweep against Keshav Maharaj. Sri Lanka were 240 for 9 at that stage and still on the backfoot. Two overs later, Duanne Olivier was dispatched for a six with a pull shot over midwicket. The shot also brought up Perera's highest Test score as the equation was reduced to 51. South Africa's ploy of using the short ball too was foiled by the pair. While Fernando swayed and ducked, Perera took blows to keep fighting. With the pressure mounting, South Africa's wheels too started to come off.

Fernando rode on his luck as outside edges dropped short twice with one of them also resulting in five overthrows in the 83rd over. Perera then flicked Steyn over midwicket in the same over to get the equation down to 22. By then, Perera was a beast. In the 84th over Radaba saw his short ball fly over fine leg before Steyn's length delivery in the subsequent over was hammered over midwicket to leave Sri Lanka needing just seven. The moment of the day came in the 86th over as Perera guided a Radada delivery wide of slip to collect a boundary and seal an unlikely win.

Earlier, the visitors were cruising at 206 for 5 needing just 98 more for an upset. It was then Maharaj's chance to turn the game on its head and help his team surge ahead. South Africa had been dealt with an unkind cut even before the day started with Vernon Philander out with a hamstring injury. But it was always going to be about how Maharaj turned up - especially with plenty of support from the track. The left-arm spinner bagged 3 for 71 and his two wickets in two balls in the 64th over that made South Africa believe.

After Oshada Fernando and Kusal Perera frustrated the hosts in the first session with a half-century stand, Dhananjaya de Silva and Perera joined forces to alarm South Africa. If you want to see a batsman intimidating the opposition, find yourself the clip of the de Silva square cut against Kagiso Rabada in the last ball of the 61st over. Such was the authority on that stroke that the beliefs soared as the deficit went south of 110. During the 96-run stand for the sixth wicket, both Perera and de Silva looked on top of Rabada, played Steyn with caution and did well to keep the Maharaj threat at bay.

Just when it seemed Sri Lanka will drive home the advantage, Maharaj struck. De Silva missed a sweep and was adjudged lbw after a review while Suranga Lakmal was caught at slip on the first ball he faced. At 206 for 7, the smiles at the Sri Lankan dressing room had vanished. They were staring at a defeat with the hosts clearly on top. Little did they know they were about to witness a thriller.

Brief scores: South Africa 235 (Quinton de Kock 80; Vishwa Fernando 4-62) & 259 (Faf du Plessis 90; Lasith Embuldeniya 5-66) lost to Sri Lanka 191 (Kusal Perera 51; Dale Steyn 4-48) & 304/9 (Kusal Perera 153*; Keshav Maharaj 3-71) by one wicket.

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