Sri Lanka have now won two of their last six test series, with both those victories coming against South Africa.
Yet the Sri Lankans ultimately cruised to victory Saturday in the series-deciding match against test cricket's No 2-ranked team, reaching the victory target of 197 at St George's Park for the loss of just two wickets.
In doing so they joined the likes of Australia and England as the only teams to win a Test series against South Africa on its home turf.
The bowlers have done superbly to restrict the home side, especially as they are without frontline slow bowler Lasith Embuldeniya, who broke his thumb attempting a caught and bowled in South Africa's first innings and is out of the Test. "We obviously didn't play well, but to come to our backyard and beat us 2-0 means you've done something right; so good luck to them". Captain Faf du Plessis (31 not out) will resume after the break with debutant all-rounder Wiaan Mulder, seeking to push the South African lead past 200.
In South Africa, they were missing injured talisman Angelo Mathews and had coach Chandika Hathurusingha reportedly at odds with his own board after being removed as an on-tour selector. "When I was batting in both innings, I felt it was a really good batting pitch and like I said both teams did not put on the runs like they should have", he added.
What made the series victory even more improbable was the fact that this was a rag tag Sri Lanka squad. And I didn't hear any language in the changeroom about what's happened in the past, about having to bat on hard pitches previously.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had defeated South Africa in the first Test at Durban by 1 wicket thanks to an improbable chase engineered by Kusal Perera's brilliant 153 not out.
"Mentally, we were a bit soft in giving our wickets away and cricket is about fighting it out and grinding it out". The hosts made 222 in their first innings and despite having an edge of a crucial 68-run lead, folded for just 128 in their second innings with only the skipper getting a fifty in the game that ended well inside three days.
Fernando is a product of St. Sebastian's College Moratuwa while Kusal Mendis hails from Prince of Wales College also in Moratuwa and had only their home-grown pride to bank on unlike past cricketers who had the luxury of playing in the English county scene but were never able to do anything victorious in South Africa.
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