We take a look at four memorable Proteas performances against Sri Lanka, featured in the latest SA Cricket magazine.
Makhaya Nitini made history when he became the first black African to play Test cricket for South Africa when he faced the Sri Lankans at Newlands in 1998. The Proteas posted 418 in their first innings, and Ntini was thrust into the firing line, dismissing Aravinda de Silva (92) to earn the first of his 390 Test scalps. It changed the course of the match as the tourists went from 165-2 to 306 all out. Hansie Cronje’s men set a target of 376, which proved too much for the tourists.
Polly on Fire
After the Cronje match-fixing scandal had ripped SA cricket apart in 2000, Shaun Pollock was entrusted with picking up the pieces. Sri Lanka toured the following summer and Polly led from the front, taking 13 wickets, which included his 200th Test wicket in front of his home crowd, and 6-30 in the first innings of the New Years’ Test at Newlands. The Proteas skipper then showed his all-round skills with a 95-ball century in the third and final Test at Centurion. His exploits set up an innings and seven-run victory, earning the Natal spearhead the Man of the Match and Man of the Series award.
The question of whether Jacques Kallis would ever score a double hundred hung on many Proteas fans’ lips. The prolific run-scorer finally got the proverbial ‘monkey off his back’ against India at Centurion in 2010 – a mere 15 years after making his debut. But it was at his home ground against Sri Lanka, in front of the Wynberg End, that Kallis joyfully celebrated another double ton, a personal-best 224, to cement his name in Proteas folklore.
After winning the first Test, the Proteas looked to have shaken off the retirement of Graeme Smith. Their previous tour to Sri Lanka had been a painful affair and their 153-run victory under the captaincy of Hashim Amla showed the future looked bright. But Mahela Jayawardene had other ideas. His 165 runs propelled Sri Lanka to a first innings total of 421. Set a target of 369 runs to win, the Proteas fought hard against three frontline spinners on a turning pitch. The heroes of the final day were Amla (25) and Vernon Philander (27) who faced 170 and 105 balls respectively, as the Proteas blocked their way to No 1 in the world to force a draw and win the series.