Sri Lanka v South Africa Test - Men's

Herath's 34th five-fa secures series win

Theunis de Bruyn scores maiden Test hundred but spinner's 34th career five-wicket haul seals 2-0 win


23 July 2018, 09:37 PM AEST

Herath brilliantly sets up Proteas century-maker

Sri Lanka have completed a 2-0 Test sweep of South Africa to record their first series win over the Proteas since 2006 after Rangana Herath wreaked havoc with six wickets.

The visitors were all out for 290 in the second session of day four in Colombo, 200 runs short of their highly improbable winning target of 490 on a bone-dry wicket.

It was South Africa's first Test whitewash since they went down in the island nation 2-0 in a two-match series almost 12 years ago.

Sri Lanka had wrapped up the first Test in Galle within three days, reducing South Africa to 73 in the second innings, their lowest Test total since readmission to international cricket.

"Right through the series we didn't have that ability to score partnerships," said Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis.

"I think we only had three partnerships of 50 and above the whole series.

"But once again you have to give credit to the opposition. They were able to put us under pressure for long periods of time and therefore we made a lot of mistakes.

"In hindsight I think we definitely would have played a second spinner (in Colombo). Our thinking was on this surface that the ball would reverse (swing) but there was zero reverse swing this innings."

In the second Test, Sri Lanka scored 338 in their first innings and South Africa could only respond with 124 as versatile off-spinner Akila Dananjaya took five wickets.

Mighty Maharaj snares nine-wicket haul

The hosts then scored 5-275 before declaring halfway through the afternoon session on day three, setting the visitors an unlikely victory target.

They were already five wickets down for 139 at stumps on Sunday, with Dananjaya dismissing du Plessis for seven and Herath getting Hashim Amla for six.

The wickets fell despite a comedy of errors from Sri Lanka, who dropped two catches, wasted both their reviews - on successive balls - and could have had Dean Elgar out twice had Perera not overstepped.

Theunis de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma kept the spinners at bay for most of the first session on Monday, putting on a valiant sixth-wicket stand of 123.

Their partnership was South Africa's best ever in a fourth innings in Asia, and was by a distance their biggest of the series, the previous best having been worth only 64.

De Bruyn was especially impressive, sweeping judiciously and defending doggedly on a tough surface, while Bavuma was also adept at picking gaps on the leg side and rotating the strike.

Bavuma's resistance ended on 63 when he was caught behind off left-arm spinner Herath, who then had wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock lbw for eight on the stroke of lunch.

After lunch de Bruyn recorded his maiden century, South Africa's only one of the series, but was bowled by Herath for 101.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will take particular joy in this victory, as it came in the absence of their regular captain and middle-order batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who was suspended following a ball-tampering scandal.