Creating history: Hard work pays off for Karunaratne's Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's convincing win over South Africa secured a series whitewash along with a slice of history.

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne's side became the first Asian team to win a Test series in South Africa.   -  Getty Images

Dimuth Karunaratne lauded his side's work ethic and ability to enjoy the occasion after Sri Lanka became the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.

The tourist wrapped up an eight-wicket victory on day three of the second Test to seal a 2-0 series whitewash. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis' unbeaten 163-run partnership saw the Lions chase down the 197 required for victory at St George's Park on Saturday, much to the delight of captain Karunaratne.

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"It's really a great feeling," he said, having seen his side bounce back from series whitewashes in New Zealand and Australia. "It's not easy when you come to South Africa and win a series. A lot of hard work, we did really well, enjoyed it a lot, and that's why we created history.

"I think the tours of New Zealand and Australia were really tough, we learnt a lot. The players wanted to do better for the team and for themselves. They realised what to do and what not to do, and that's why we are here."

The skipper conceded, however, that he was concerned after the Lions only posted 154 in their first innings. 

"I want to thank the youngsters, like Vish [Vishwa Fernando], [Lasith] Embuldeniya, Oshada [Fernando]. Then with the bowling, Kasun [Rajitha], Suranga [Lakmal] – all put their hands up.

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"First-innings batting is a concern, we were behind the game at all times, but came back really well thanks to the bowlers.

"I have to dedicate this win to all the guys who supported us, the Sri Lankan fans who supported us. They backed us when we kept losing, we wanted to do something for them."