Samaraweera unable to save Sri Lanka
A second century in as many matches for Thilan Samaraweera proved in vain as South Africa wrapped up a series-clinching 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test at Cape Town.
Samaraweera, only recalled for this series as cover having been overlooked for the recent matches against Pakistan, progressed from 19 to 115 not out on day four as Sri Lanka scraped their way to 342 in their second innings.
Angelo Mathews also contributed 63 to a fifth-wicket stand of 142, but South Africa were left needing just two for victory, a target they reached without a legitimate ball being bowled as Alviro Petersen punched Dhammika Prasad’s first delivery - a no-ball - down the ground for four.
The comprehensive nature of the Proteas’ victory represented a perfect response after they had been surprisingly defeated in the second Test at Durban, and also ensured Graeme Smith’s side emerged victorious in a home Test series for the first time since 2008.
Jacques Kallis - who compiled 224 in his side’s first innings - was one of three bowlers, along with Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir, to finish with three wickets today and was subsequently named man of the match, having also taken six catches.
South Africa suffered frustration in the morning session as Samaraweera and Mathews extended their partnership beyond 100.
Neither man was unduly troubled by the bowlers on a pitch offering decreasing pace, although Samaraweera was fortunate not to be run out at the non-striker’s end on 52, Petersen narrowly missing the stumps from cover with the batsman having given up hope of making it back following a mix-up with Mathews.
After lunch, it was Philander who made the key breakthrough with the second new ball, trapping Mathews lbw as he looked to pull a delivery that appeared to keep low.
Dinesh Chandimal made just one before he was superbly caught in the slips by Kallis off Philander and, although a seventh-wicket stand of 56 boosted Sri Lanka, Thisara Perera was then caught in the deep as he aimed to take the attack to Tahir.
South Africa looked set for an innings victory as Rangana Herath, caught and bowled by Kallis, and Dhammika Prasad, stumped off Tahir, departed.
Chanaka Welegedara managed to lift Sri Lanka into the lead with a powerful straight six off Kallis, but he was bowled next ball to leave the home team with the briefest of run-chases.