Sri Lanka are 37-3 following an eventful morning session on day two of the first Test at St George’s Park.
Six wickets fell on day one of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka. Seven fell in the first session of day two as the Proteas slumped to 286 all out and Sri Lanka then lost three of their best batsmen.
The Proteas will be disappointed with their first innings total. Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar amassed 104 for the first wicket. At one stage, South Africa were 178-2 and on course for 400. Yet, they lost their last eight wickets for just 108 runs.
Following the close of play on day one, JP Duminy told reporters that the Proteas still believed that a total of 400 was reachable. Duminy said that with Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander at the crease on day two, the Proteas could surpass 350 and possibly 400.
But the Sri Lankans had other ideas. Nuwan Pradeep bowled short to Philander, and eventually had the all-rounder caught in the deep. Suranga Lakmal claimed his first five-for in Test cricket when he found the edge of Keshav Maharaj’s bat an over later.
De Kock attempted to up the tempo, but only succeeded in running out Kyle Abbott. After playing a few expansive shots, the left-handed batsman was bowled by Pradeep.
In the end, Sri Lanka needed fewer than nine overs to claim South Africa’s remaining four wickets. The hosts added 19 runs to their total this morning.
The Proteas did well to shrug off the disappointment of their batting effort and focus on exploiting the excellent bowling conditions. Abbott and Philander put the ball in the right areas and were assisted by the movement off the pitch.
In the fourth over, Dimuth Karunaratne played an Abbott delivery back onto his stumps. Philander claimed a wicket when Kusal Perera slashed at a ball outside off-stump.
The dangerous Kusal Mendis was out driving at a full delivery by Abbott. On both occasions, De Kock took the catch.
Sri Lanka now face a fight for survival. They may struggle to cope with this Proteas attack on a pitch that is providing the seamers with significant assistance.
The pressure is now on opener Kaushal Silva, skipper Angelo Mathews, and Dinesh Chandimal to make big contributions and edge Sri Lanka closer to South Africa’s total of 286.
SA 286 – Duminy 63, Cook 59, Lakmal 5-63, Herath 2-48
SL 37-3 – Kaushal Silva 12 not out, Abbott 2-13, Philander 1-9
Sri Lanka trail by 249 runs
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images