Dale Steyn took the final Sri Lanka wicket as the Proteas bowled their hosts out for 190 before lunch on day three and the visitors now need 352 runs to win.
It was a slow start from Sri Lanka on day three and the Proteas capitalised on it. Keshav Maharaj’s three wickets in the final session on day two set the Proteas seamers up to dig into Sri Lanka first thing in the morning.
Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the first seven overs, with Kagiso Rabada remarkably having a hand in all three. The 23-year-old first got his fingers to a straight drive from Angelo Mathews that deflected on to the stumps, catching Roshen Silva out of his crease. The paceman followed this up with two wickets in the 45th over.
Rabada first angled in a fullish delivery from the fourth-stump region which straightened on Niroshan Dickwella, found his edge and flew through to Quinton de Kock, who completed the catch by falling to his left.
Rabada’s third wicket was Dilruwan Perera, who he trapped lbw to complete his 150th Test wicket in his 31st Test. This makes him the third-fastest South African Test bowler to the target behind Hugh Tayfield (29 Tests) and Steyn (29). Rabada is also the second-fastest South African (behind Steyn) since readmission to reach 150 Test wickets, as well as the youngest Test bowler to reach the milestone.
The Proteas continued to throttle Sri Lanka, intent on keeping their lead below 350. Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi helped the cause to great effect. Maharaj rolled a slider into Mathews, who mistimed his slog sweep as the ball crashed into the stumps.
Shamsi then trapped fellow spinner Rangana Herath lbw to knock Sri Lanka nine down for 163.
Sri Lanka added 27 runs for the last wicket to take their lead to 351 before Steyn wrapped up the innings by taking his 421st Test wicket. This makes him level with Shaun Pollock as the leading South African Test wicket-taker.
The Proteas reached 5-0 by lunch. Aiden Markram shook off the nerves of his first-ball duck in the Proteas’ first innings to get off the mark on two, while Dean Elgar added three runs on the other end.
Sri Lanka (second innings) 186-4 – Dimuth Karunaratne 60, Angelo Mathews 35, Keshav Maharaj 4-58, Kagiso Rabada 3-44
South Africa (second innings) 5-0 – Dean Elgar 3*, Aiden Markram 2*
Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images/Getty Images