Galle: Pacers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel ripped through the Sri Lankan batting line-up to seal a 153-run win for South Africa in the first Test, on Sunday, as Hashim Amla started his captaincy in fine style.
Steyn took four for 45 and Morkel finished with four for 29 to dismiss the hosts for 216 shortly before the tea break and seal a first win in Sri Lanka after 14 years.
Sri Lanka had started the fifth and final day on 110 for one, optimistic of chasing down the 370 victory target after the visitors had declared on 206 for six, but collapsed under persistent pressure from the two quicks to lose nine wickets for 106 runs.
Steyn ended with match figures of nine for 99 — best by a quick at Galle — to take the Man of the Match award. “His figures speak for themselves, he bowled excellently,” Amla said of Steyn.
“The lengths he bowled, the pace, the aggression… I could look in the dictionary for a million adjectives to describe him, but I think it suffices to say that it was a great performance by a great bowler.”
Steyn started South Africa’s victory push by grabbing an early breakthrough when he had Kaushal Silva edge to wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock to end his innings on 38 and the second wicket stand of 104 with Kumar Sangakkara.
Morkel then struck with the first ball after the drinks interval when Mahela Jayawardene edged behind for 10 to leave Sri Lanka on 138 for three. The hosts still held hope, though, with Sangakkara holding firm against the barrage before he fell to one of the worst balls of the day.
The left-hander pulled a long hop from JP Duminy straight to Amla at mid-wicket to depart for 76 and leave the hosts in big trouble at 149 for four.