IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.
Ridiculous, riotous Test cricketing madness!

Someone forgot to send Kusal Perera the last few pages of the script, and the defiant southpaw stood in the middle of the Kingsmead ring and simply improvised.

He slung Dale Steyn towards the Indian Ocean, so violently that they might have heard it land in Colombo.

He smeared Kagiso Rabada over fine-leg, paying no mind if the direction was ‘jammy’, because sincerity lived from whence the shot came.

He dared Vishwa Fernando to go with him, to dream with him - and live out that dream simultaneously.

He ravaged the Proteas attack with a knock so unexpected that the applause was still polite when he reached three figures.

No one had reckoned with the Lankan sting in the tail.

And then, and then, and then...

South Africa, in control for so long, will rise today hurt and, perhaps, embarrassed by their efforts when they suddenly realised the noose was around their necks  and no longer on their visitors.

The prey became the predator, and the Sri Lankan Lions pulled off a miracle that makes their 2011 victory on this very ground look like child’s play.

This was Roy of the Rovers, Kusal of Kingsmead stuff.

This was ridiculous  an enthralling slugfest of wickets and defiant runs, until the runs that were made outlasted the wickets that were lost.

Who knew that Sri Lanka had that in them? Perhaps they did, which is why they chose to stay away from training, the day before the match started.

Whatever their logic, it worked. And how!

Perera may never play a better knock if he sleeps and dreams a million knocks, but he will always have the glistening memory of Durban.

South Africa lost, sure, and they will ask themselves some hard questions about all their disciplines in this match.

But, they will rise and fight again in Port Elizabeth. They have to.

So, no one died. But, Sri Lanka lived again, in the most sensational way possible.

They tore up the script, and wrote their own ending.

And, with it, Test cricket won, too. This is the format. This is the unpredictability and sheer magic that makes this game of bat, and ball, and six and niks, so truly special.

It surprises us, even as we think we might have the foggiest what happens next. Constantly, it ad-libs and delights the sporting soul with a result that corrupts the senses and captures the imagination.

Dare to dream.

There is a show in America that plays along those themes of improvisation and entertainment.

As Perera rises to a thousand messages from around the world this morning, he might ponder upon a phrase that is the title of said Yank show.

It’s a phrase the Aussies of last summer churned out, during the last Test match at Kingsmead. That time, though, it was for completely different reasons.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

@whamzam17


Sunday Independent

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