Mahela Jayawardene leads from the front with a century
It was Sri Lanka's highest ever successful chaseSouth Africa was handicapped by the hamstring injury to Makhaya Ntini
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene stroked a superb 123 to help his team to a dramatic one-wicket victory over South Africa on the final day of the second Test on Tuesday, giving the host a 2-0 series win.
Sri Lanka, resuming the day on 262 for five and needing 90 for the win, added 71 for the loss of just one wicket to leave it just 19 runs shy of victory at lunch.
But left-arm spinner Nicky Boje tempted Jayawardene into a lofted extra-cover drive with Sri Lanka needing just 11 runs and Herschelle Gibbs snapped up a sharp chance at slip to trigger one final dramatic twist to a remarkable Test match.
Chaminda Vaas (four) was then brilliantly caught by a diving A.B. de Villiers at third slip and Muttiah Muralitharan (two) was bowled by Andrew Hall as he tried to slog the winning runs, leaving Sri Lanka still needing two runs.
However, Farveez Maharoof (29 not out), who batted for 120 deliveries, held his nerve with a drive down the ground to tie the scores and last-man Lasith Malinga drove Boje through mid-on to clinch victory.
``When you work hard, you are bound to get results and that's what we have achieved,'' said Jayawardene.
``It will take me some time to recover from this match,'' said Jayawardene. ``It is one of the most exciting Tests I have played in and it showed how interesting Test cricket can be.''
Fighting till the end
South Africa's stand-in captain Ashwell Prince said he was proud of his team for fighting till the end.
``We never gave up and we knew that it would still be a match worth fighting for once we got Jayawardene out,'' said Prince.
``Except for the first innings of the first Test when we got out for 169 we have matched the opposition in both batting and bowling. If only some catches had been taken, the result would have gone in our favour.''
Jayawardene's sublime innings, which spanned 245 deliveries and included 11 boundaries and two sixes, provided the foundation for the victory. His 16th Test century carried him to an aggregate of 510 runs in the series, the fifth highest in a two-match series.
Sri Lanka's 352-run chase was the highest on home soil. It was also Sri Lanka's highest successful chase and the sixth highest in Test cricket history.
All-rounder Andrew Hall gave South Africa early hope with a reverse-swinging delivery that trapped wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene in front for 30, ending a 78-run sixth-wicket stand.
The touring side then missed Maharoof, on two, twice in a Boje over as Mark Boucher fumbled a stumping opportunity and Hashim Amla spilled a chance.
South Africa was handicapped by a hamstring injury to pace bowler Makhaya Ntini that failed to respond to intensive treatment on Monday night.
Ntini, South Africa's premier pace bowler, was woken up every two hours during the night by team physiotherapist Shane Jabaar for ice treatment.
South Africa now hopes he will regain fitness in time for the second stage of the tri-series also involving India starting on August 14. Agencies