Sri Lanka were whitewashed 3-0 at home against England. They had not won a single match in all formats in New Zealand and were hammered 2-0 against Australia in the Tests. They headed to South Africa, a nation where no Asian nation had won in history. India, with their star power and with Virat Kohli in prime form, had failed to win a Test series in South Africa in 2018. Pakistan, with their fast bowling resources, were whitewashed 3-0 in 2018/19. Sri Lanka were had won only one Test in 19 years of touring Sri Lanka and many expected that Sri Lanka would fall by the wayside against the No.2 ranked side.
However, in a stunning reversal, Kusal Perera’s inspired 153 and a record-breaking stand of 78 for the final wicket with Vishwa Fernando helped Sri Lanka secure their highest-ever chase outside the sub-continent. The win for Sri Lanka in Durban was their second in the country, having won at the same venue in 2011. In the Port Elizabeth Test, South Africa secured a 68-run lead but Sri Lanka staged a great fightback as the hosts lost eight wickets for 77 runs to give the visitors a target of 197. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis slammed fifties and Sri Lanka secured history. Here is the list of statistical records created by Sri Lanka in the process of their win.
1 – Sri Lanka become the first Asian team to ever win a series in South Africa. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has never won a Test series against the Proteas in South Africa.
3 – Sri Lanka become only the third team in history to win a series in Australia. Ever since the country was readmitted in 1992, only Australia and England have won series in the country. Australia has won five times while England has won thrice.
2 – Sri Lanka became only the second Asian side to ever win a Test match in Port Elizabeth. Pakistan had won in 2007 and this was South Africa’s first loss at the venue in 11 years.
3 – Number of Tests won by Sri Lanka in South Africa, making it the joint third-most among visiting nations. England have won 31 Tests while Australia has won 29. India and New Zealand has won three games apiece.
2 – This is the second time since readmission that South Africa has lost two consecutive Test matches at home. Australia has done it thrice in 1997, 2002 and 2006 while Sri Lanka achieved it in 2019.