Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis recorded an unbeaten half-century in a historic Test win over the Proteas in Port Elizabeth to earn Saturday’s Play of the Day award, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.
Mendis pulled out his best form during the second and final Test match against the Proteas by scoring a calculated 84 not out off 110 balls that included 13 fours to help Sri Lanka become the first side from the subcontinent to win a Test series on South African soil.
Sri Lanka’s No 4 walked to the crease on Friday with the visitors in the tricky position of being 34-2 in pursuit of a tame victory target of 197 run set after they bowled out the Proteas for just 128 runs in the second innings. He managed to hold out to stumps alongside Oshada Fernando (75 off 106 balls, 10×4, 2×6) before resuming on day three with his score on 10 and the Sri Lankan total on 60-2.
His well-executed 163-run partnership with Fernando for the third wicket powered the island nation to an unexpected series whitewash over the Proteas as the visitors ran away with an eight-wicket victory over the under-performing home side.
🙌 HISTORIC WIN FOR SRI LANKA 🙌
Unbeaten fifties from Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis on the third morning help the visitors register their first ever Test series victory in South Africa.#SAvSL SCORECARD ⏬https://t.co/dkczebcheC pic.twitter.com/NCtu2hr1Z3
— ICC (@ICC) February 23, 2019
Mendis’s heroic performance not only heralded the win but also earned the right-hander a well-deserved Man of the Match award, helping Sri Lanka win a second consecutive bilateral Test series over South Africa following their whitewash over the Proteas at home in 2018.
Sri Lanka and South Africa will next face off in the first of five ODI’s on Sunday, 3 February, as the home side hope to avenge an embarrassing Test series whitewash and regain the South African public’s support ahead of the World Cup taking place in May.
Brilliant to be apart of the history!! Thank you to all who believed in me and always backed me..we played as a team and we won as a team! amazing leadership by @IamDimuth
Love you all. ❤️Proud to be a srilankan.💪🏾🇱🇰🇱🇰
— Kusal Mendis (@KusalMendis1) February 23, 2019
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images