Karunaratne's heroics and South Africa's tale of woes


Sri Lanka made light work of South Africa as they won the first Test in Galle by a mammoth 278-run margin and inside three days. The hosts, who started the third day 272 runs in front, could add just 79 more for the last six wickets setting South Africa a target of 352. In the end, the target proved enough as the tourists’ innings lasted only 28.5 overs folding out for 73 – their lowest total since 1957. Dimuth Karunaratne was adjudged Man of the Match for making both the 50-plus scores in the Test (158* & 60); in the process outscoring South Africa by 19 runs.

Stats highlights from the Galle Test:

73 – The lowest (all out) total for South Africa in 254 Tests since their re-admission to the international fold in 1992. The previous lowest for them was 79 against India in Nagpur in 2015. Their first innings total of 126 was their previous lowest in a Test in Sri Lanka.

Lowest totals for SA since re-admission

Total Overs Inngs# Against Venue Result Season
73 28.5 4 SL Galle Lost 2018
79 33.1 2 Ind Nagpur Lost 2015/16
83 33.1 3 Eng Johannesburg Lost 2015/16
84 25.1 2 Ind Johannesburg Lost 2006/07
96 24.3 2 Aus Cape Town Won 2011/12
105 38.5 4 Ind Ahmedabad Lost 1996/97

199 Runs scored by South Africa in two innings combined – 126 and 73. The aggregate of 199 runs is the fewest made by any side against Sri Lanka in Tests which involved two innings. The previous lowest was 233 by Bangladesh in Mirpur earlier this year.

500 Balls faced by South Africa in this Test – 54.3 overs in the first innings and 28.5 in the second. It is the fewest they have faced in a Test since re-admission, with the previous lowest being 519 balls against Australia in Johannesburg in 2002.

16.90 Average runs scored per dismissal in this Test – 676 runs scored at the cost of 40 wickets. Only one Test in Sri Lanka that produced a result, which in turn had a worse ratio – 15.17 – in the match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Kandy in 1986 (440 runs & 29 wickets).

20 – This is the 20th consecutive Test in Sri Lanka which produced a result. The last Test that ended in a draw in this country was in 2014 when South Africa played the hosts at the Sinhalese Sports Club – the venue for the second and final Test of the series.

10/78 Match figures for Dilruwan Perera – 4/46 and 6/32 – fourth best for Sri Lanka against South Africa after 13/171, 12/115 and 11/161, all by Muttiah Muralitharan, in Galle in 2000, in P Sara Oval in 2006 and in Durban in 2000 respectively. Six for 32 and 10 for 78 are respectively the best innings and best match figures for Dilruwan in his career.

5 – Rangana Herath and Dilruwan became the fourth pair of spinners to open the bowling in each innings of a Test. The last pair to do so was Mehidy Hasan and Shakib-Al-Hasan against England in Mirpur in 2016.

421 Wickets taken by Dale Steyn – the joint most for South Africa in Test cricket, equalling Shaun Pollock’s record. Steyn has taken only 87 Tests to take as many wickets as Pollock did in 108 Tests. Among leading wicket takers across teams, Steyn and Pollock currently sit jointly at the tenth position.

Most wickets for SA in Tests

Player Mat Balls Wkts Avg SR 5-fers BBI
S Pollock 108 24353 421 23.11 57.8 16 7/87
D Steyn 87 17539 421 22.42 41.6 26 7/51
M Ntini 101 20834 390 28.82 53.4 18 7/37
A Donald 72 15519 330 22.25 47 20 8/71
M Morkel 86 16498 309 27.66 53.3 8 6/23
J Kallis 165 20172 291 32.63 69.3 5 6/54

At 23 years and 50 days, Kagiso Rabada became the youngest ever to reach the milestone of 150 Test wickets, usurping Harbhajan Singh, who was 56 days older when he reached the landmark in 2003. His 31 Tests to 150 wickets is bettered only by Hugh Tayfield and Steyn, both taking 29 Tests each.

4 Dimuth Karunaratne became the fourth Sri Lankan player to ‘Carry his bat’ in a Test innings after Sidath Wettimuny, Marvan Atapattu and Russell Arnold. He did so before the close of play on the opening day of the Test – thereby emulating Jackie McGlew, Gary Kirsten and Imran Farhat.

Players carrying the bat for SL in Tests

Player Runs Total Inns Against Venue Start date
S Wettimuny 63* 144 2 NZ Christchurch 4-Mar-83
M Atapattu 216* 428 2 Zim Bulawayo 18-Nov-99
R Arnold 104* 231 2 Zim Harare 4-Dec-99
D Karunaratne 158* 287 1 SA Galle 12-Jul-18

3 – Karunaratne became the third Sri Lankan player to score a century in his 50th Test. Sanath Jayasuriya had scored 188 against Pakistan in Kandy in 2000 and Tillakaratne Dilshan compiled 162 and 143 against Bangladesh, in Chittagong, in 2009

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