Wiaan Mulder led from the front by taking 4-19 in a brilliant spell of bowling to put the SA U19s in a strong position against Sri Lanka.
A solid batting display in the second innings has given the South Africans a lead of 145 with eight wickets in hand.
They were on the back foot after the first day of their first Youth Test in Colombo, after being bowled out for 206 and seeing the hosts comfortable on 108-2 at the close.
But captain Mulder and his teammates, all playing in their first ‘Test’, changed that in an inspired morning session in which they took eight wickets for the addition of 72 runs in 32.5 overs, giving themselves an advantage of 26 runs on the first innings. Mulder had taken 1-33 on day one, but ripped through the Sri Lankans with his medium-pacers.
The Sri Lankans added just 29 runs to their overnight total when Shammu Ashan (43) was run out, and Mulder struck immediately afterward to remove the dangerous opener Vishva Chathuranga, who had piled on 83 off 131 balls.
Thereafter, the South Africans struck at regular intervals and no Sri Lanka batsman could settle in. Jade de Klerk backed up Mulder magnificently by taking 3-18 off 16 overs with his leg-breaks. So tight was the spinner’s control that he had 10 maidens.
The South Africans wobbled at the start of their second-innings push, losing Jesse Christiansen (0) and the formidable Raynard van Tonder (5), to fall back to 5-2. But Joshua van Heerden (59) and Jerome Bossr (46) played to the conditions and slowly built a solid base of 119-2.
The South Africans will be looking for quick runs on the third and final day to set a target.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images