If Kusal Perera Has Defied Logic > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - When Kusal Perera defied logic
You will read many adjectives describing Kusal Perera's fourth innings score of 153 not out to secure a one-wicket victory against South Africa in Durban. Words like 'epic', 'unbelievable', 'mind-boggling'. None of them will do it justice.
This was a batting display that defied logic. This was a knock that shouldn't have happened. When Brian Lara struck an identical score against Australia in Barbados in 1999 to win the match on his own he was rightly hailed a genius. But that was Brian Lara, one of the greatest wielders of a willow who has ever walked the earth. That was on home soil with a frothing crowd willing every flash of his blade. Of course the scale of his performance left the audience slack jawed but it was within the realm of what we considered possible from The Prince of Port of Spain.
What Perera achieved is without precedent. This was only his 15th Test match. He'd only ever scored one century before this against Zimbabwe in 2016. He was up against arguably the world's most dangerous and in-form bowling attack. Sure it was Durban's Kingsmead, a ground that holds about as much hostility as a petting zoo and one in which the hosts have now only won once in their last nine matches, but this was still a subcontinental batsman against Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duane Olivier at full tilt.
When Steyn was castled by Vishwa Fernando in the afternoon session on Friday, the target for the tourists was 304 runs. That looked an irrelevance given the way their batting capitulated in the first innings, bundled out for 191 in the face of ruthless short balls and devilish out swingers. Perera offered the only meaningful resistance against the onslaught, registering 51 before going down swinging as his teammates folded at the other end.
Sri Lanka's final effort with the bat began in predictable fashion and the Islanders headed to the close on Friday three down with 83 on the board. Perera was not out on 12. Oshada Fernando was with him on 28. The course for the next day was already mapped out. The iceberg was unavoidably up ahead. "Gentleman, it's been a privilege playing with you," one Sri Lankan must have said to his teammates in the dressing room.
The sheer bloody gumption that Perara showed is alone worthy of praise. This was not a rescue act built entirely from steel and resolve. There was dash and daring - 12 fours and 5 sixes peppered his stay in the middle which ended with a strike rate of 76.5.
Perera would not go gently into that muggy East Coast night. When Keshav Maharaj burst through Dhananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal and Kasun Rajitha, and then Olivier bounced out Lasith Embuldeniya, there was one wicket to go but still 78 on the board.
With nothing but Vishwa Fernando's five Test runs from seven trips to the crease to keep him company, Perera opened up. He skipped down the track and deposited Maharaj over long on for six. After raising his hundred he surpassed his previous best score with another maximum by bludgeoning Oliveir over long leg. Against Steyn he encapsulated his brilliance by picking up South Africa's best ever bowler as if he were a village trundler and cannoned the ball for half a dozen on the leg side.
Even as the target was whittled down it looked beyond reach. Every time Vishwa survived another over or Perera procured the strike it felt as if the decisive wicket was just a ball away.
South Africa did not get their tactics right here. Only Faf du Plessis will know why the new ball wasn't taken at the first opportunity. But to take anything away from Sri Lanka and Perara would be criminal.
Was there ever a point where Perara had an inkling that he was on the cusp of immortality? For that is what this innings has given him. This is the highest score by a Sri Lankan in a successful chase and he played the leading role in the highest ever 10th wicket stand in a first class match, but even these facts do no justice to him.
This innings may not catapult Sri Lankan back to their glorious past. Perera may not enter the halls of Sangakkara and Jayawardene. The outcome of the second Test starting on Thursday in Port Elizabeth will likely be the resounding drubbing we all expected to take place here.
Two years ago a vastly more experienced Sri Lankan side - one who had recently bettered Australia - were humiliated in South Africa. A comprehensive 2-0 win against the Proteas on home soil last year aside, this is a team short of recent highlights. A home whitewash defeat against England preceded one sided losses in New Zealand and Australia. Now they are guaranteed at least a credible series draw away from home.
But forget about the big picture for a minute. Allow yourself to get lost in the condensation of this innings in its purest form. One man, leading his country, marching ahead amidst a bombardment in a foreign land and came out on top. Savour this one. Performances like it don't come around very often.
See Lyon, I play a big Role, as well as in the WC: Zampa
Australian legspinner Adam Zampa, who managed to revive his ODI career recently, is now an integral part of his side's World Cup defence. Overlooked for last year's humbling ...
Pakistan pick Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali Wahab Riaz for the world cup
Pakistan have sprung a surprise by bringing back pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz to the ODI fold for the World Cup as they announced their final 15-man squad ...
World championship 1983: During a Stopover shot, beautiful
In the build-up to the 2019 World Cup, Cricbuzz is publishing an eleven-part series to reminisce every bygone edition. The first instalment harked back to the maiden World ...
Rhodes, impressed with the Bangladesh Executive of the Depth of the world cup
Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes insisted that clinching their maiden multi-nation tournament in Ireland indicates the depth of their strength as they achieved the feat on the back players ...
England's Jofra Archer Decision: Who made the Path?
On Monday, England's management group, captain and selectors will put the final touches on their World Cup squad. With Jofra Archer set to be included, one of the preliminary ...
Fielding, the Difference between the two Sides: Arthur
Ahead of the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan have been hit by an unexpected hurdle. At the start of the ODI series versus England, their batting department was expected to be ...
Each one has his own point of View on Their Phones of tomorrow: Woakes
Luis Reece Ton of give, Derbyshire first Day honours
Derbyshire v GlamorganLuis Reece seamlessly carried his form from List A cricket to the long-format as he scored a breezy century to give Derbyshire first-day honours in their ...
Pakistan is humiliated, as the world cup Rehearsal, which ends in Misery
Pakistan's pre-World Cup tour didn't go exactly as planned as Sarfaraz Ahmed and his side were humbled 0-4, losing the fifth and final ODI by 54 ...
Afghanistan is transmitted, an irish Traction before the world cup
A complete bowling performance helped Ireland defend 210 and gain a 1-0 lead in the two-match series against Afghanistan on Saturday. Mark Adair and Boyn Rankin claimed seven ...