Jacques Kallis celebrated his 150th Test match with one of the most complete all-round performances of his long career as he inspired South Africa to a 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka yesterday, and a first home series win in three years.
Kallis had marked his milestone match at his home ground at Newlands with a career-best 224 in the first-innings in the third Test.
He then picked up three for 35 with the ball in Sri Lanka's second innings yesterday - and equalled a South African record of six catches in the match.
South Africa overcame a heavy 208-run loss in the second Test, their first Test defeat on home soil to the Sri Lankans, to seal a first home series success since they beat Bangladesh in late 2008.
It ended a frustrating run of four home series without a win for South Africa. This was Graeme Smith's 41st Test win, joint second in the all-time list of successful captains, with Steve Waugh, and behind Ricky Ponting.
In Cape Town, South Africa finally found the killer instinct to bowl Sri Lanka out for 239 and then 342 just before tea yesterday after the visitors had followed on in response to South Africa's Kallis-inspired 580 for four declared.
"I couldn't have asked for it to have worked out better. You dream of performances like that in milestone games," Kallis said.
Needing just two runs to clinch the match and a 2-1 series victory, Alviro Petersen drove the first ball of the Proteas' second innings, a no-ball from Dhammika Prasad, for a boundary.
"Excellent bounce back from the guys," Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, said. "We were very poor in Durban and admittedly so. There was a bit of emotion for Jacques and the guys came out and played for him.
"We haven't lost too many [series] but we just haven't had that killer punch. This one in particular, there's a lot to build on."
A fighting 115 not out from Thilan Samaraweera had earlier delayed South Africa's march to victory in a gritty 142-run partnership with Angelo Mathews (63).
However, Samaraweera's second century of the series could not prevent South Africa's long-awaited victory.
Having not been in Sri Lanka's initial squad for the tour, Samaraweera's first century in South Africa had set up their win in Durban. But, despite the 35-year-old batsman's fight at Newlands, Sri Lanka slid away to its fourth series defeat in four trips to South Africa and a fifth series loss in a row.