Sri Lanka Emerging carve the way for a sturdy fight back against SA Emerging on day three of the second four-day match.
A magnificent 196 from 253 deliveries (31 fours and four sixes) from Lahiru Milantha spearheaded Sri Lanka Emerging side’s reply to South Africa’s 588-5 dec at Tuks Oval on Tuesday helping his team reduce the deficit to 121 runs before the close of play.
The 105-run second-wicket partnership between Hashan Dumindu (49) and Milantha sparked off a solid start after the visitors posted an overnight total of 98-1. Dumindu was unlucky to lose his wicket one run away from his half-century, falling to the in-form Mbulelo Budaza who picked up 3-77 which included a brace in the 88th over.
Despite losing two partners in quick succession, Milantha was not rattled putting on a fourth-wicket partnership with Sandun Weerakkody, after Buduza struck again removing Weerakkody in the 87th over, shortly after witnessing his partner reach a stunning 150. Dayyaan Galiem (1-93) was also amongst the wickets but it was Bjorn Fortuin’s 2-92 which did the main damage, first removing Chathuranga, who was looking good on 27 and then the dangerous Milantha, just four runs short of a deserving double-century nine overs before the close of play.
Budaza was happy with his performance and pleased to see his hard work paying off. ‘It wasn’t an easy day for the bowlers at all today, a lot of hard work went into getting each breakthrough that we got,’ he said. ‘We came here prepared for the conditions to be different from what we had in Potchefstroom and we worked hard to make sure that we squeezed as much out of the wicket as we could.
‘I’m really happy that I got the wickets that I did and it makes me really happy that I was able to make a good contribution to the team. Tomorrow we just want to take those last three wickets as early as possible and restrict Sri Lanka to a manageable score.’
Leus du Plooy, who has taken over as captain of the side, is satisfied with his bowlers’ performance. ‘The wicket has played really well throughout the game thus far,’ he commented. ‘I’m pretty proud of the way that the bowlers fought the battle out there today, it definitely was difficult. I’d like us to get wickets early on, that will definitely put them under pressure. We’ve been hitting out straps really well, if we do that tomorrow, the chances will come, it’s just for us to take them.’
He praised the Sri Lankan batsmen’s efforts, saying: ‘The batsmen played exceptionally well, credit to them for the fight that they showed especially coming from a tough tour so far and a loss in the last game. Credit to them for the way they came back today.’
Sri Lanka were 467-7 at stumps on day three of the second and final four-day match, trailing by 121 runs.
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