South Africa took 16 Sri Lanka wickets in a little over two sessions to secure a ruthless victory by an innings and 118 runs in the third and final test at the Wanderers on Saturday.
After posting 426 in their first innings on Friday, South Africa bowled Sri Lanka out for 131 before lunch on day three, before dismissing the out-gunned sub-continent side again for 177 to complete a 3-0 series sweep.
All of the home seamers claimed wickets on a pitch that had plenty of steep bounce and more than enough lateral movement to leave the Sri Lanka batsmen flailing.
Left-arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell, who took six wickets for 89 runs over the two innings, was perhaps the pick, while Kagiso Rabada (5-94) was unlucky not to pick up more with some hostile spells.
Debutant seamer Duanne Olivier (5-57) will be pleased with his return in helpful conditions, while Vernon Philander (4-63) also pitched in.
“Once again it was a complete performance,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said at the post-match presentation. “It started with the bat on a tough wicket and our bowlers were once again spectacular.
“We wanted to make sure we step up in this game and dominate and do so 3-0… right through the series Sri Lanka didn’t have a session where they were controlling us.
“Consistency in test cricket is very hard, so I am proud with how the boys played.”
South Africa made short work of wrapping up the tourists’ first innings after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 80 for four.
Rabada grabbed the key wicket of Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews (19) as wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock produced a magnificent diving catch in front of first slip.
Olivier then claimed his first test wicket when Herath top-edged a vicious bouncer and the home side then tore through the tail.
Du Plessis enforced the follow-on and Sri Lanka were quickly on the back foot again as Rabada accounted for opener Kaushal Silva for a first-ball duck.
The impressive Olivier snapped up two more quick wickets, with Du Plessis leaping to an almost impossible height at second slip to pluck the ball out of the air as Mathews was dismissed for 10.
The game was up for Sri Lanka when Rabada rattled the stumps of opener Dimuth Karunaratne (50), who had a provided lone resistance.
“Congratulations to South Africa, they outplayed us in every department,” Mathews said.
“We kept repeating the same mistakes. We knew we would not get slow, turning wickets in South Africa and that we would have to play really good cricket, but unfortunately we haven’t.”