The Emerging Proteas once again were left to rue their inability to close off an innings when their Sri Lankan counterparts ended on 319, a lead of 103 after the first innings of the second unofficial Test.
After being bowled out for just 216, the South Africans were in with a chance when they had their hosts struggling at 117-5. But again, the Sri Lankan lower order showed their resilience and enterprise to overtake the first-innings target and then add another 103 runs. At the close of day two, the Emerging Proteas were 47-0, with Tony de Zorzi on 25 and Ryan Rickelton on 20, trailing by 56 runs.
Charith Asalanka provided the anchor of Sri Lanka’s innings, working his way to an excellent century off 218 balls in stark contrast to the recklessness of the top order, who seemed to treat this Test as a one-dayer as they raced to 69 off 16 overs, losing three wickets along the way on day one.
Asalanka had great support from Shammu Ashan (61), who provided the resistance in the first Test when his team were 66-6, chasing the South Africans’ first offering of 394-9. He and Chamika Karunaratne (61) hauled Sri Lanka to a decent 196 on that occasion, which ultimately proved to be enough to set up a four-wicket win.
On the second day of this Test at Hambantota, Asalanka put on 101 for the sixth wicket with Ashan, and then added 84 for the seventh with Kamindu Mendis (31). Both were to fall to Luthando Sipamla, who ended the day with 4-75. But by then the Sri Lankans had taken a formidable lead.
The Emerging Proteas will need no reminding of their collapse to the spin of Malinda Pushapkumara in the first Test, which left Sri Lanka with an easy run-in. Now they are in an even more daunting position and some resolute batting will be needed.
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