The island nation completed a stunning innings and 39-run victory over captain Pat Cummins‘ Australia in Galle on Monday to end the two-match series level at 1-1.
The result shook up the championship table with Sri Lanka climbing to third as the race to make the final hots up.
“South Africa take over as the new leader on the latest standings with a win-loss percentage of 71.43 percent, while Australia drop to second with 70 percent after their first Test loss in the current period,” the International Cricket Council said.
“Sri Lanka are now firmly in the mix for the World Test Championship final next year, with their win helping them jump in front of Pakistan, India and West Indies.”
Sri Lankan spinner Prabath Jayasuriya had a dream debut with a match haul of 12 wickets and veteran batsman Dinesh Chandimal stood out with an unbeaten 206 — his maiden Test double ton.
Cummins termed the loss a “reality check” for a team that won the opener inside three days but were then bundled out on the fourth day of the second match.
“The reality is some of our players haven’t been here before. So you could call it a reality check, because it’s a first experience,” Australian coach Andrew McDonald said, agreeing with the skipper.
“It’s a sample size of one. We have the opportunity to learn from that. And we’ll take that. But we learned a hell of a lot in the first game too.
“You can learn through winning and you can learn through defeat too.”
Australia’s next Test outing is at home against West Indies in November, while Sri Lanka host Pakistan for a two-match series starting Saturday.
Kane Williamson‘s New Zealand won the inaugural Test championship final last year, beating India in Southampton.