Morkel, Steyn Finish Off Sri Lanka
South Africa 455-9 dec. & 206-6 dec. beat
Sri Lanka 292 & 216 (Sangakkara 76) by 153 runs
First Test, Galle
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel combined to bowl South Africa to a first Test victory on Sri Lankan soil since 2000 – the pair sharing eight wickets to complete a 153-run victory in Galle.
Steyn took four for 45 and Morkel four for 29 to dismiss Sri Lanka for 216 on the final day and ensure Hashim Amla's maiden Test as captain was one to remember.
Overnight Amla perhaps had reason to be feeling edgy, having seen the hosts serenely reach 110 for one in pursuit of their 370-run target – a chase which was arguably only reachable courtesy of an adventurous declaration from the South African skipper on day three.
Steyn and Morkel however ensured the tetchiness would be short lived, triggering a Sri Lanka capitulation which saw nine wickets fall for just 106 runs on the final day.
The first to depart was Kaushal Silva who could only add four to his overnight 34 before he edged Steyn behind, Quinton de Kock diving to his right to pouch a stunning catch.
That brought Mahela Jayawardene to the crease and together with his old mate Kumar Sangakkara he kept a baying South Africa at arm’s length, before Jayarwardene feathered Morkel through to de Kock.
Jayarwardene’s exit left the pendulum firmly swinging in South Africa’s favour and it was a position of dominance they would not lose grip of.
The pivotal scalp of Sangakkara would come with the 36-year-old uncharacteristically pulling JP Duminy straight to short midwicket ending a hithero faultless innings of 76.
That was the beginning of the end for Sri Lanka, as Lahiru Thrimanne and Dinesh Chandimal quickly followed – the former’s torrid recent Test run being extended by Steyn before the latter edged the imposing Morkel behind.
Chandimal only survived seven balls and that number was only fractionally bettered by Dilruwan Perera who for the second time in match was sent packing by Steyn and that dismissal representing the talismanic quick man’s ninth scalp of a match-winning performance.
Steyn’s nine for 99 means he has now taken 80 wickets in the subcontinent, more than any other non-Asian fast bowler.
Amidst the carnage Angelo Matthews (37 not out) was offering stoic resistance but he was inevitably fighting a lone battle and two wickets for Morkel and another victim for the valuable Duminy completing South Africa’s victory shortly after lunch.
Sri Lanka will be afforded little chance to lick their wounds with the second and Test beginning on Thursday in Colombo – where Amla will look to guide South Africa to a first series win in Sri Lanka since 1993.
© Cricket World 2014