One Kusal spelt hassle for South Africa within the first Check however two Kusals spelt double hassle as Sri Lanka shocked the hosts and the remainder of the cricketing world to tug off a sensational collection victory in Port Elizabeth in opposition to all odds.
After Kusal Janith Perera led the heroics by snatching victory from the jaws of sure defeat in Kingsmead, Durban, Kusal Mendis and debutant Oshada Fernando made a mockery of what gave the impression to be a batsmen’s nightmare observe in Port Elizabeth to effortlessly information Sri Lanka to a historic 2-Zero collection triumph in entrance of a shocked South African following.
Followers worldwide mirrored on their dismal performances in New Zealand and Australia have been left in wonderment on the miraculous type reversal.
All of the doomsayers who condemned this group for lack of method and temperament – together with yours actually – have been left dumfounded because the courageous lads from Lanka capably led by new skipper Dimuth Karunaratne displayed battle moderately than fright to stage a commendable come from behind effort that despatched them into the annals of historical past.
Not solely did they win the collection, however in addition they recorded simply their third win on the African continent whereas changing into the primary Asian group to win a collection there and the one the third group to beat the South Africans on residence soil.
Solely two different groups – England and Australia – have secured collection wins in South Africa earlier than.
Sri Lanka’s first win ever in South Africa was underneath Tillakaratne Dilshan within the 2011-12 collection through which present skipper Karunaratne was a member of the squad that went down 1-2 to the hosts.
It was a titanic tussle between the comparatively unknown Sri Lankans recent from a forgettable drubbing in Australia and New Zealand and the cocky hosts who’re ranked quantity two within the World and appeared to take their opponents as a stroll within the park prospect.
Though they refused to confess it, the strategy proved to be a mindset they’ll remorse for a few years to return as they recall the ache and humiliation inflicted on them by the smarting Lankans in search of some type of redemption.
There isn’t any doubt that luck performed an enormous half in Sri Lanka’s success as they pulled off a Houdini like escape within the first Check, then folded like a deck of playing cards of their first dig of the second Check earlier than Kusal Mendis and teen Oshada Fernando rode their luck and batted with conceitedness and authority to make it a thrashing of the house group ultimately.
Profitable skipper Dimuth Karunaratne admitted after the sport that that they had made up their minds to do one thing particular for the struggling followers who endured the torture of their substandard performances in Australia.
“We learnt quite a bit from these defeats and have been in a position to handle our weak spot in opposition to the rising ball. And it paid off on this collection”, he stated.
They confirmed flamboyance and scant respect for the scary South African assault led by Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada as they raced to the goal with carefree abandon and completed proceedings effectively inside three days.
After Sri Lanka’s bowlers adopted up their first Check effort to bowl South Africa out for a mere 222, it appeared just like the Lankans euphoria after a shock first Check win had rapidly evaporated as the house group struck again by bowling them out for 154.
Newcomer Vishva Fernando and Rajitha grabbed three apiece and Dhananja De Silva acquired two to maintain the lankan dream of a collection win alive.
Down however not out, Sri Lanka struck again swiftly as Suranga Lakmal, four for 39 an Dhanjaya De Silva, three for 36 with Rajitha, 2 for 20 wrought havoc to skittle the house aspect for 128 elevating hope for an upset in the event that they have been as much as it needing 197 for a collection sweep.
An evaluation of the Sri Lankan turnaround seems to counsel that they wanted recent new route and it got here no sooner Chandimal was faraway from his function as skipper and the choice function was relieved from coach Hathurusinghe leaving him to focus on the group’s efficiency as an alternative.
Total, Sri Lanka’s fielding has lifted considerably underneath Australian nice Steve Rixon and so they functioned as a unit backing one another in an effort that appeared missing on their earlier excursions.
Studies from Colombo additionally point out that the brand new skipper’s stand on persisting with Lakmal and Kusal Mendis within the group in opposition to some choice committee members who insisted on them being omitted proved to be the final word distinction.
They’ve risen from the depths with this nice effort and Sri Lankan followers are optimistic that the brand new route and a brand new Sports activities Minister in Haren Fernando whose focus is on the event of the nationwide group was the tonic they wanted to show issues round.