Herath praises team effort after famous win

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 09:34

Durban: A delighted Rangana Herath praised the efforts of his team mates after bowling Sri Lanka to their first Test win in South Africa at Kingsmead on Thursday.

The left-arm spinner took five for 79 as South Africa capitulated in their second innings to lose the second test by 208 runs after winning the first at Centurion by an innings.

"It was a whole team effort, that`s why we won. We`re very happy because we bowled them out for less than 170 and we played our brand of cricket. We didn`t do anything different," Herath told a news conference.

Herath, who took nine wickets in the match, said his success had been a result of "sticking to the basics".

Sri Lanka captain Tillekaratne Dilshan said it had been one of his career highlights to come to Durban and level the series after losing so emphatically at Centurion.

"It`s one of the greatest days for my career to beat South Africa in South Africa. It showed that if we can play our brand of cricket, we can beat one of the best teams," he said.

"It`s a fantastic feeling and great for Sri Lankan fans. As the captain, I am very proud, especially after losing the first Test so badly. We will definitely celebrate, we can enjoy ourselves...it might be all night."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith said the Sri Lankans had adapted better to the pitch and executed their skills more accurately than the hosts.

"We were just outplayed from the start, we didn`t adapt to the conditions. The pitch was a bit slower than usual and reverse swing and spin played more of a role. We`ve had good pace and seam in the last three Tests, but there wasn`t as much carry here and the pitch was slower.

"But we have no excuses about the surface, we did not match their skills on this type of pitch and our execution wasn`t great. They were better than us," Smith said.

The South African social media was abuzz with people calling for wholesale changes to the Proteas team and there was even a rumour on the Twitter network that Smith would resign the captaincy.

"That`s not the case, as long as Gary Kirsten and the team want me to lead, I will do the job to the best of my ability. Whenever you lose, disappointing things circulate, but that story was too much," Smith said.

"When you lose, it`s natural that the selection debate starts, but it`s the selectors` call and it depends on where they see the team going. But it`s not just for one Test, it`s the next six months that matter and our tours to New Zealand and England.

"At the moment, there`s obviously a lot of emotion around the situation, but there needs to be good reflection and solid decisions made - not emotional selections."

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First Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 09:34

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