Very rarely does a team comes out successful after winning the toss and choosing to field first. In most of the matches, any captain who wins the toss is seen taking the crease unlike what the South African captain - Graeme Smith has been seen doing. Whatever, as the saying "all is well that ends well" goes, South Africa as expected won the game by an innings and 81 runs which is something to be relished for a long time by the Proteas. Had the South African captain chosen to bat first, may be South Africa would not have had an innings win.
Had South Africa batted first, may be Graeme Smith might not have taken the courage to impose a follow-on on the Sri Lankan team which would have sealed all hopes of South Africa having an innings win. This has been seen in most of the games where even courageous captains think a million times before imposing a follow-on no matter how much the difference between both the teams is. The best example that I can cite is in the Sydney test 2003-04 where the then Indian captain - Sourav Ganguly decided to bat for the second time despite piling up 705 runs in the first innings.
India had a margin of close to 250 runs in the match against Australia which eventually ended in a draw when all hopes of an Indian win was alive. Coming back to the game between Sri Lanka and South Africa, my calculation for Sri Lanka should have seen them piling up atleast 689 runs to see some hopes in the game which eventually didn't happen, needless to be said. Forget about any mammoth total by the Sri Lankan batsmen, they could not even score the total of 180 runs which they managed in their first innings. The Sri Lankans were bundled out for 150 runs.
This was 30 runs less than what they could manage in their first innings. Anyone who goes through the scorecard would know that their top order failed miserably with the first major knock coming from the blades of Thilan Samaraweera who scored 32 runs to top the batting among Sri Lankan batsmen. There were four batsmen who scored over 30 runs in the first innings while the 2nd innings saw only one batsmen doing the same. The Sri Lankan debacle made hay for Vernon Philander who took ten wickets in his third test to see him get the man of the match.