Durban: Rangana Herath took 5-79 as Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 208 runs in the second Test on Thursday for a breakthrough win in the country and a first victory in 16 matches.
Spinner Herath wrapped up Sri Lanka's first-ever Test victory in South Africa late on Day Four and ended a miserable run in Test cricket over the last 18 months as the Proteas slumped to 241 all out in their second innings, well short of their victory target of 450.
Herath broke a stubborn 99-run stand between AB de Villiers (69) and Dale Steyn (43) and then removed Steyn and Marchant de Lange in three balls to wrap up a series-leveling success for the tourists with a day to spare.
The left-arm slow bowler took nine wickets in the game in a Man-of-the-Match performance to send Sri Lanka to one of their best-ever wins, overcoming poor recent form, a problem with player salaries and a dismal return of seven losses and a draw in their eight previous Tests in South Africa.
Herath had De Villiers lbw late in the day to begin South Africa's final slide after a battling partnership with Steyn delayed Sri Lanka's march to victory and lifted the struggling home team from 133-6 in their second innings. Morkel went three overs later and Herath hurried out Steyn and debutant De Lange as Sri Lanka suddenly raced to victory.
The revived Sri Lankans also made a dramatic turnaround in the three-match contest after losing the first Test by an innings and 81 runs.
South Africa fell to a fourth straight Test defeat in Durban, setting up a series decider in Cape Town next week after no one gave the Sri Lankans a hope when they were bowled out for 180 and 150 in the first match.
At Kingsmead, Sri Lanka scored 338 and 279 - and skittled out South Africa for 168 in their first innings - for a dominant 449-run lead.
A 28th Test century by Kumar Sangakkara, and a second half-century of the match by impressive debutant wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal (54), had built Sri Lanka's second innings on Wednesday and put the tourists in complete control of the Test.
Dilhara Fernando removed skipper Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince to back up Herath with 2-29 on the fourth day, while captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thisara Perera had one wicket each.
South Africa's unlikely hopes of saving the Test slipped away in 27 overs after lunch as the Proteas lost 5-50 in the middle session. Only Hashim Amla resisted with a half-century - as he did in South Africa's first-innings 168 - but was then run out for 51 as the home team's batsmen fell at regular intervals.
Having already lost captain Graeme Smith before lunch, Jacques Rudolph went to a loose drive to Perera straight after. Jacques Kallis top-edged an attempted sweep off Herath onto his helmet and up to Tharanga Paranavitana at short leg to go for a second duck of the game and his first pair in Test cricket in his 149th match.
Amla was run out as playing partner Prince refused a run and turned his back on Amla, while Mark Boucher fell lbw to Herath just before tea.
In between, Fernando forced out Prince with a sharp, rising delivery that the left-hander couldn't control and gloved to Paranavitana at first slip.
De Villiers and Steyn battled to the brink of a gutsy century partnership, but South Africa were already heading to a damaging defeat and the Test futures of opener Rudolph and veteran Prince were expected to be under scrutiny.
Having lost 5-50 before the seventh-wicket partnership, South Africa then lost 4-9 at the end to fall away dramatically and continue what is becoming known in the country as the curse of Kingsmead.