It was the 5th day of the first test between Sri Lanka and South Africa. The first four days were exciting enough and this had set the stage for a dramatic final day. Sri Lanka needed 260 runs on the final day while South Africa needed to pick 9 Sri Lankan wickets. The test was bound to be decisive one. But on the final session of the 4th day, Sri Lanka were in cruise control of the match and at stumps of the day, they were poised at 110 runs for the loss of a single wicket with Sangakkara at the crease with over 50 runs.
They day started with Kaushal Silva and Sangakkara starting the proceedings for the Sri Lankans. South Africa looked aggressive on the field and looked to pick up wickets right from the first ball. In the 4th over of the day’s play, Steyn provided the Proteas with a much needed breakthrough and Kaushal Silva was dismissed at a score of 38 runs. Mahela Jayawardena came in next and again all the responsibility were on the grand pair of him and Sangakkara.
They had to play well to keep themselves in control of the game. But it was a day not meant for Mahela. After getting a slow start, he edged a ball off Morkel and it was caught well by De Kock. The South Africans were thus 3 down at a score of 138 runs. But the biggest blow to the Lankans was on the 50th over of the innings when Sangakkara was dismissed while he tried to play a stroke off Duminy. He played a valiant innings and was dismissed for 76 runs. It was Lahiru Thirmanne and Angelo Mathews who were at the crease and suddenly, South Africa looked to be the favourites for the match.
But the Steyn magic continued for the Proteas and Thirmanne was the victim of it. He was dismissed by Steyn and with his dismissal, Sri Lanka were in deep trouble. Dinesh Chandimal came in next and it was the last recognized pair for the Lankans. But he was deceived by a beauty from Morkel and he departed very quickly without bothering the scorers by much. At lunch, Sri Lanka were 6 down for 161 runs and they were on the verge of losing the game.
The second session started with South Africans in full swing. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel looked too much dangerous for them. Perera was dismissed by Steyn very soon and it was only Angelo Mathews who was the only recognized batsman at the crease. South Africans dominated over the tail-enders. After putting a mentionable effort, Rangana Herath was dismissed and his dismissal was followed by the dismissal of Lakmal in the 72nd over. South Africa was just a wicket away from victory and they took it in style. Morkel dismissed Eranga in the very next ball after he had dismissed Lakmal and with that wicket, South Africa lead the series, 1-0 with a 153 run victory.
Dale Steyn was the pick of the bowlers for the South Africans with 4 wickets in this innings by conceding just 45 runs. Morkel also took 4 wickets by conceding 29 runs. He was adjourned as the Man of the Match for his 9 wickets in the test. So, it is done and dusted at Galle. We look forward for the second test at Colombo which starts from Thursday.