Led by a quick three-wicket haul, the Emerging Proteas stayed in the game after being bowled out for 216 in the second unofficial Test against Sri Lanka in Hambantota.
They had the Sri Lankans at 69-3 off just 16 overs, trailing by 147 runs, when stumps were drawn on the first day.
The South Africans’ innings was built on a breezy 51 off 58 balls from opener Ryan Rickelton, who put on 49 with Kagiso Rapulana (23) for the second wicket after the early loss of captain Tony de Zorzi (3).
Thereafter, the South Africans struggled to build a meaningful partnership until Nandre Burger (31) and Gregory Mahlokwana (29) came together with the score on 144-8. They put on 54 in 10 overs and after Burger was bowled by spinner Kamindu Mendis – his fourth wicket of the innings – Mahlokwana was left to drag his team over the 200-mark.
There was a wicket apiece for Luthando Sipamla, Eathan Bosch and Mahlokwana as the Sri Lankans set off at pace to match the first-innings target, running up their 69 in just 15.5 overs.
The South Africans will be reminded that in the first unofficial Test, they had Sri Lanka at 66-6, but their lower order dug in to build a presentable total. They eventually emerged victors by four wickets after the South Africans collapsed in the second innings.
A similar fightback can be expected if they slow down the pace of play.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images