It was the final day of the match and perhaps the most crucial day to decide the fate of the series. South Africa needed to defend well to maintain the lead while Sri Lanka required to grab 9 wickets to save the test series. But unfortunately, rain played a spoilsport in the initial phase but not for long.
Elgar and De Kock returned in the ground after the fourth day. Perera–Lakmal duo started the bowling attack for the Sri Lankans. Elgar and De Kock were playing cautiously and setting their eye. They started the fifth day very slowly. The rain interrupted the 1st session. When they returned to the pitch, Sri Lanka was able to take an early wicket of Elgar. Elgar contributed only 13 runs on the board. Amla took the place of Elgar. Amla and perera were looking for a good partnership. They were moving slowly. Lunch started early today. After the 1st session South Africa scored 55 runs for 2 wickets.
In the 2nd session after lunch Amla and Kock were coming out from the box gradually. Herath joined the bowling crew to take another wicket. They were building a good structured partnership but Herath got the success and took the wicket of de Kock who scored 37 runs. AB De Villiers came replacing de Kock. After the 40 over score was 68/3. Amla and De Villiers were looking for a partnership to give a momentum. After a long unsuccessful spell Mendis joined the bowling attack. After 48overs the score was 77/3. In the 49th over Amla’s catch dropped. Herath gets the outside edge, it flies low between slip and gully, Mathews manages to get his left hand on that as he dives for it, tough chance but Amla’s wicket would have changed the game. After the 50 over South Africa scored 79/3. Vithanage also joined the bowling attack to break this Amla-De Villiers partnership. Once again Herath broke the crucial partnership of Amla-De Villiers by taking the wicket of De Villiers. Superb first ball takes AB out. This was slow, loopy, drifts and dips, spins from the surface, just enough to beat the bat and takes out the off stump. AB, who doesn’t really push forward, plays down the wrong line and was made to look like a tailender. AB De Villiers scored 12 runs off 67 balls. South Africa’s score after 64 over was 94/4. Du Plessis came out to the crease. Amla and Du Plessis was looking aggressive after the out of De Villiers. Herath and Perera were looking for a wicket. Amla, Du Plessis looked very stable at that moment. The 2nd session was over agter the 71st over. South Africa scored 104/4 at the end of the 2nd session.
After the Tea break, Perera started the bowling attack first for Sri Lanka to take a wicket of one of these massive pillars of South Africa. In the 75th over Perera took the Amla’s wicket. Mahela takes this at slip and runs towards the boundary, tossed up high and full, Amla has resisted driving at these till now, probably the state of his leg, probably he is tired, but he has a go at the drive, and Mahela has not built up that record at slip for nothing. After the 76th over, South Africa scored 106/5. Sri Lankan bowling crew was working hard and once again Herath got another big one Plessis into his trap. Herath tossed up, good length, pitches middle and off, Faf forward to defend, it jagged away, took the edge and Mahela Jayawardene pouched catch No 200 at slip, low to his left, he was pumped up. Now Philander and Duminy were standing on the pitch.in the 82nd over the new ball has been taken. Once again rain interrupted the show. After some minutes players returned to the grounds. After the completion of 87th over South Africa scored 118/6. At the last phase of the match Duminy and Philander graabed the pitch strongly but Perera took the wicket of Duminy in the 94th over. Duminy contributed only 3 runs. Umpire Kettleborough upholds a long appeal, Perera with the breakthrough right at the start of the final hour, South Africa review, that came in with the angle from round the wicket, did not turn, Duminy’s defensive bat was still on its way down on the forward push when the ball smacked into pad in front of middle, that is hitting leg close to the top. Steyn came out replacing Duminy on the pitch. Lakmal was bowling with a longer run up. Herath took the wicket of Steyn in 103rd over. Herath had his fifth, tossed up, pitching outside leg, spinning and bouncing across, Steyn pushes forward, thin edge through to the keeper. Imran Tahir came out from the dressing room and took the place of Steyn on the pitch. After the End of 108th over South Africa managed to score 153/8. Sri Lanka was very close to win this match. The match ended at 111th over and the match was drawn.
South Africa thus managed to clinch the 2-match test series by 1-0. This is their first victory in an away series after a long time. And it has thus been a brilliant start to Amla’s captaincy.