What we witnessed at Kingsmead on Saturday happened just for the 31st time in the history of cricket. Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Perera took the fearsome South African bowling attack all by himself. He handed Sri Lanka a record-breaking win in the first test of the series.
The left-handed batsman had less than a one-in-20 shot. In the history of Tests, a target of 300-plus has been set 666 times; only 30 times has the chase been successful.
Kusal Perera made sure that his side will be the 31st to achieve the feat.
The 28-year-old batsman hit a staggering 153 not out in 200 balls in the 4th innings. He cleared the boundary six times while showcasing his adamant display on the pitch for 309 minutes.
Kusal Perera’s hunger was unreal.
Sri Lanka needed 78 runs with one wicket in hand. Vishwa Fernando entered the pitch. This was too much of an ask from Fernando who had scalped 8 wickets in the test match.
He was up against an attack which consisted of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier & Keshav Maharaj. Vernon Philander had left the pitch with a slight injury.
It seemed an uphill task but there was one man at the heart of it. At the heart of a famous away win. A test match win which will be remembered for ages.
While Perera kept on dispatching the odd balls for boundaries on the other end, Vishwa Fernando showed grit and true character.
Brian Lara-esque display – Daddy & Mother Of All Co-incidences
The Kusal Perera show was extraordinarily similar to what Brian Lara pulled off at Barbados nearly 15 years ago. Despite the left-handed style of playing, there were lots of similarities.
Both came at 5th position. Both were chasing a total of 300+ against exceptional bowling attacks. Both the sides won by just 1 wicket. Similar, is it?
Both finished 153 not out. Well.. Well.. This is the daddy, mother, grandfather & what not of co-incidences.
It was a gem. Kusal Perera’s 153 reminded us of how beautiful test cricket can be at times despite its dying nature.
The magical innings was an embodiment of Perera’s fighting spirit. Mere superlatives won’t do justice to his brilliant crafted innings. He showed his legend against one of the best bowling attacks. Perera will prove to be a very handy pick for fantasy players on ProSports11 during ODI series.
Kagiso Rabada wasn’t at his usual best, however, Dale Steyn was searingly quick and looked destructive.
Sri Lanka’s 78* is the highest stand for 10th wicket in a winning cause in the 4th innings in Test cricket history.
Kushal Perera’s 153 will go down as one of the greatest test innings without an iota of doubt. An innings which has put Sri Lanka in the hot zone to become the 1st Asian team to win a test series in South Africa.