Sri Lanka’s emerging players showed the value of determined resistance when they came from behind to beat the Proteas by four wickets in the first unofficial Test.
Considering they were 66-6, and 328 runs behind the Proteas in their first innings, it was a remarkable comeback, but spin was the Proteas’ undoing. The 31-year-old left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara picked up 12 wickets in the match; most notably in the second innings, when he took 6-45 as the Proteas were bowled out for 109.
It was evenly poised overnight, when Sri Lanka needed 153 runs for victory with seven wickets in hand.
The South Africans quickly got rid of opener Kaushal Silva (91 off 166 balls, 10 fours) but the Sri Lankans showed their batting depth. No 5 Pasqual Mendis led the charge with an unbeaten 67 (94 balls, 10 fours).
The two batsmen who had been the leading scorers in the first innings also played their parts with Shammu Ashan contributing 49 (94 balls, seven fours and a six) and Chamika Karunaratne an unbeaten 32 (43 balls, three fours, two sixes).
Luthando Sipamla was the most successful bowler, taking 2-38 in 12 overs.