I did my part, says modest Sri Lanka match-winner Perera

Sri Lanka were grateful to Kusal Perera for a show of individual brilliance in South Africa, yet the modest batsman played down his role.

Kusal Perera celebrates in Durban   -  Getty Images

Kusal Perera incredibly deflected praise onto his Sri Lanka team-mates despite a phenomenal individual effort in the one-wicket win over South Africa.

Perera, who started and ended day four at the crease, compiled a sensational unbeaten 153 and dominated a 10th-wicket stand of 78 to guide the tourist to an unlikely victory in Durban, after the Proteas had appeared to be in complete control.

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Sri Lanka was reduced from an overnight score of 83-3 to 226-9 on Saturday as it pursued 304 for victory, yet Perera almost single-handedly secured an improbable series lead with an astonishing display.

The batsman's breathless exploits had taken their toll by the time of the post-match presentation, but he was keen for his colleagues to be credited, too.

"I'm really tired now," he admitted, before adding: "I don't know what to say.

"All the batsmen gave me good support and, all that time, I believed in myself. We did it. I was just thinking that I did my part, but we were winning as a team.

"We had done a lot of homework in the recent past, so this was a really special win for us. We did a lot of hard work previously."

 

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne was similarly eager to share the praise as he hailed his "remarkable" star man while also recognising the contributions of debutants Oshada Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya.

"[Perera] batted really well," the skipper said. "He's one of the most experienced guys in the side, but this hundred is remarkable.

"Getting a hundred in South Africa is not easy against a top-class fast bowling attack.

"But even the two debutants did really well. Oshada batted really well and Embuldeniya clearly did a good job [taking five wickets in South Africa's second innings]. That's what we need. As a team, we need to play as a unit and do our best."