Vastavam web: Kusal Perera became a national hero in Sri Lanka on Sunday after scoring an unbeaten 153 to guide his country to a sensational first Test victory in South Africa. The country’s cricket legends and politicians lauded Perera, who has become a linchpin for the ailing national side since fighting off doping charges in 2016.
Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who had staunchly defended Perera when he was suspended in December 2015, called the performance at Kingsmead in Durban on Saturday “unreal”. “What an amazing win,” Sangakkara said on Twitter. “One of the best if not THE best overseas win by (Sri Lanka). Kusal Janith Perera was unreal.” Another former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena said on Twitter: “What a beauty! One of the best innings under pressure.” Jayawardena said Perera, who put on a last wicket partnership of 78 had shown “intelligence and mental strength”.
Perera scored 67 in an unbroken last-wicket stand with Vishwa Fernando which gave his underdog team a sensational victory. Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also took to Twitter to hail the win. “Congratulations to our cricket team on snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat,” Sirisena said. “U beauty”, said Sports minister Harin Fernando on Twitter. Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 and since has been plagued by management scandals, allegations of corruption and player squabbling.