South Africa slipped to 69 for three at lunch on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Newlands on Monday.
Visiting captain Angelo Mathews’ decision to bowl first after winning the toss brought early reward, as Stephen Cook and JP Duminy perished for ducks, while Hashim Amla’s trying stretch of form continued.
Suranga Lakmal, who relished a maiden Test five-wicket haul in the series opener at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, struck in the first over of the day. Cook feathered an outside edge to stand-in wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis.
Amla and Dean Elgar successfully saw off an increasingly threatening opening spell from Lakmal, collecting a 66-run partnership inside 22 overs against Nuwan Pradeep, Mathews and Lahiru Kumara. Spinner Rangana Herath did not bowl before lunch.
Kumara, selected ahead of Dushmantha Chameera, repaid the faith by bowling Amla with some superb seam movement into the right-hander. Out for 29, the veteran Amla hasn’t scored a Test half-century in nine innings.
Duminy departed five deliveries later. Caught off guard by a bit of extra bounce, he tickled another catch to Mendis, whose glovework continued to prove sound in the absence of the ill Dinesh Chandimal.
Elgar moved to a resilient 36 not out – and Faf du Plessis one – at the break. The pair will likely be greeted by sunnier skies, which were initially overcast, during the second session – and succeed on a rather green pitch where Cook, Amla and Duminy could not.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Stephen Cook, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (captain), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada.
Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper), Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.
Jonhenry Wilson, at Newlands.