South Africa's series win over Sri Lanka was "a starting point" for a year of demanding tours, captain Graeme Smith said yesterday.

Speaking after South Africa clinched the series with a 10-wicket win on the fourth day of the third and final Test at Newlands, Smith said: "We have a tough year with away series against New Zealand, England and Australia. The way we won here was important."

Graeme Smith. Pic/AFP

Thilan Samaraweera made 115 not out, his second century of the series, as Sri Lanka managed to avoid an innings defeat. They were bowled out for 342, leaving South Africa needing only two runs to win the match and the series.

Smith said South Africa had produced their best bowling performance in bowling out Sri Lanka twice in successive innings despite minimal help from a placid pitch. "We bowled well, each guy was able to create pressure. There's a lot to build on for the year to come."

The South African captain said his team's shock defeat in the second Test in Durban, which left them needing to win at Newlands to secure their first home series win in four series, had been "a wake-up call in terms of the standards we need to produce as a team". MoM Jacques Kallis, playing in his 150th Test, returned figures of three for 35.