Kagiso Rabada struck twice after lunch as Sri Lanka collapsed around Dimuth Karunaratne’s unbeaten 80 to end on 161-6 by tea on day one in Galle.
It was an equal bout heading into lunch on day one. Both sides showed intent as the Proteas reduced the hosts to 93-2.
Tabraiz Shamsi and Rabada showed what the dry pitch had to offer for the bowlers and Karunaratne gave the crowd a display of why it is a batting surface.
The momentum shifted after the break.
Karunaratne kept his side in the game as he reached his 15th half-century and helped his side past the 100-run mark.
Sri Lanka looked comfortable at the crease as Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis (24) strung together 45, but a loose shot from the latter saw him chip a full-length delivery to Rabada at mid-on for Steyn’s first wicket. This drew Steyn two wickets closer to eclipsing Shaun Pollock as the Proteas’ leading Test wicket-taker with 421 scalps.
Rabada shifted the momentum in the visitors’ favour. Two wickets in the sixth over from the No 1 Test bowler, pinned Sri Lanka back on 119-5. He removed Angelo Mathews (one) with a perfect out-swinger, brushing the right-hander’s outside edge into the gloves of Quinton de Kock. He followed this up with a shoulder-high delivery into Roshen Silva, who fended the ball in defence to Aiden Markram at short-leg, falling for a second-ball duck.
Karunaratne remained Sri Lanka’s talisman as he searched for a worthy batting partner. Wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella (18) was Shamsi’s second scalp. After beating Dickewella’s edge a couple of times leading up to the dismissal, he found the left-hander’s edge as the ball flew into the safe hands of Hashim Amla at slip.
With Sri Lanka on 161-6 off 46.2 overs, the expected downpour took the teams off for an early tea and a chance to regroup.
Sri Lanka (first innings) 161-6 – Dimuth Karunaratne 80*, Kagiso Rabada 3-35, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-30
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix