Home > Features >

South Africa begin new era with emphatic win over Sri Lanka

South-African-cricketer-Dale-Steyn-(2L)-celebrates-with-teammates-after-he
Dale Steyn (second left) finished with a match haul of 9 for 99 © AFP

South Africa thrashed high-flying Sri Lanka by 163 runs in the opening Test of their two-match series at Galle on Sunday. It was an all-round performance by the South Africans, as they begin a new era under Hashim Amla. Devarchit Varma analyses South Africa’s performance in the first Test.

Hashim Amla would certainly be one happy man at the moment. He has taken over the reins of one of the top cricketing nations in the international circuit, and has started it with a win. The way South Africans went about their job in the five days of the first Test deserves the richest of applause, as they never let Sri Lanka seize control and enjoy the home advantage.

South Africa may have been toppled from the top ranking in the ICC Test Championship table, but they once again proved why they deserve to be treated as top dogs. Playing in alien conditions, against an opponent that has won everything this year across all formats of the game, any side would have gotten intimidated. But South Africa did not. They stuck to what a winning side should have – belief, game plan, getting the basics right, and performance.

South Africa outperformed Sri Lanka in all departments. They put the necessary runs on board, and backed themselves to defend it. Most importantly, they did not let Sri Lanka off the hook whenever there was a chance. Such performance can be seen only with the top sides in international cricket, and South Africa are certainly among them.

Dean Elgar came on to bat at the spot where Graeme Smith used to, and it was a memorable one for him. He watched the ball carefully, and did not let the Sri Lankan spinners get the better of him on a track that suited them perfectly. But if there is someone who deserves full marks in the first Test, it has to be Jean Paul Duminy. The 30-year-old has finally hit the purple patch, and he is certainly enjoying the best phase of his career.

India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar admitted that scoring runs boosted his confidence as a bowler, and the effect of the same can be seen in Duminy as well. He might be batting way down the order in the South African line-up, but Duminy seems to be cherishing the role that he has been given in the side . The confidence that Duminy has gained in the past couple of months with the bat is showing with his spin bowling as well. Certainly, South Africa’s part-time spinner Duminy emerged the better option than frontline spinner  Imran Tahir.

Dale Steyn proved why he is the best bowler in the world. During the Test match Steyn revealed why he is more successful than his other contemporaries in the subcontinent, adding that he wants to leave a legacy. Expressing the desire is one thing and doing it is another – Steyn surely belongs to that exclusive group of winners. He bowled with a plan and earned success, and through his pace and little movement that the flat deck at Galle offered, he blew the Sri Lankans away. He bowled with aggression, and used the knowledge of subcontinent pitches fully.

On the fourth day, there was a talk about how many runs Amla wanted on the board to out-bat Sri Lanka. The new skipper’s bold declaration right after the tea break and backing his bowlers to do the job for his side was certainly laudable. South Africa have registered their only third Test win in Sri Lanka, and with only one more match to go they might as well fancy a series win. But they will have to be wary of Sri Lankan backlash.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

World T20 League 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Photos

KKR vs Dolphins, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

Live Cricket Score Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 1st semi-final: KKR win by 7 wickets

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014: Hobart likely XI

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK), 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: KXIP likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Hobart Hurricanes India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders

Live Streaming: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Chennai Super Kings(CSK), 2nd Semi final, CLT20 2014

Live Cricket Score: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab(KXIP), 2nd Semi final, CLT20 2014

Virat Kohli and Harbhajan singh congratulate Indian Hockey team after they win gold at Asian Games

Kolkata Knight Riders beat Hobart Hurricanes by 7 wickets to qualify for CLT20 2014 final

Live Scorecard: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014

CSK vs KXIP CLT20 2014 2nd semi-final: Chennai bowling under pressure

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), CLT20 2014 2nd semi-final: Key battles

Australia’s ODI team faces a dilemma for the first time in 30 years

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014: Hobart likely XI

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Virat Kohli and Harbhajan singh congratulate Indian Hockey team after they win gold at Asian Games

Loss of sense of smell in older people could predict death within 5 years

NGOs pursue education for all

Expert tips to keep your eyes healthy

International programme in Animal Husbandry

No better homage to Gandhi on his birthday: Amit Shah on Clean India campaign

Apple now has a tool for users to check Activation Lock status on used iOS devices

Live Cricket Score: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab(KXIP), 2nd Semi final, CLT20 2014

LG webOS-powered smartwatch reportedly in the works

The Shaukeens song Alcoholic: Akshay Kumar and Yo Yo Honey Singh’s track is an anthem for the drinkers!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here