South Africa survive Sri Lanka onslaught

Sri Lanka 323 and 245 South Africa 448 and 124-7 South Africa win by 3 wkts

Harry Cunningham
Wednesday 20 November 2002 01:00

South Africa completed a series whitewash of Sri Lanka with a three-wicket win in the second Test – but it only came after they had been given a big fright on the final day here.

Set a mere 121 to win, the hosts stumbled to 44 for 5 to give the tourists hope of levelling the series. But Neil McKenzie gave the hosts some much needed stability and his 39 helped see South Africa home.

"The jitters in our batting didn't make things ideal," the South Africa captain, Shaun Pollock, said. "But, in the end, we came through."

Victory had almost looked a foregone conclusion after Sri Lanka were all out for 245 in their second innings. But, in the end, McKenzie's intervention proved absolutely crucial after Sri Lanka's Dilhara Fernando had swept through the hosts' top order in the afternoon.

Chaminda Vaas struck the first blow, dismissing Graeme Smith with the first ball of the innings. Fernando then removed Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten, Jacques Kallis, and Ashwell Prince cheaply and a major shock seemed on the cards. But McKenzie steadied the ship with 39 runs for the seventh wicket with Mark Boucher, and the latter saw South Africa past the winning line with an unbeaten 22.

"It was one of the best Test matches I have ever played in," said the Sri Lankan captain Marvan Attapatu, standing in for the injured Sanath Jayasuriya. Scoreboard, Digest, page 31

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