The Sri Lankan resistance lasted just 22 overs on day four as they were bowled out by the Proteas for 224, losing the second Test by 282 runs at Newlands.
Kagiso Rabada was the beneficiary of as abject a surrender as you will ever see at Newlands, taking the first three wickets in the space of 12 balls in the morning session. He ended with 6-55 in the innings, 10-92 in the match and the Man of the Match award.
Dinesh Chandimal, now a shadow of the hero of Sri Lanka’s win at Durban last time they were here in 2011, flicked the seventh ball he faced straight to Stephen Cook just in front of square, bringing to an end what had promised to be a decent fight. After the top four batsmen had gone for 69 runs, he and Angelo Mathews had put on 61 in a determined stand on Wednesday evening.
The hope was that they would salvage some pride for the beleaguered tourists, who had been bowled out for 110 in their first innings, but Chandimal put paid that, adding just two runs to his overnight score.
What was to follow was worse. Just 12 balls after the dismissal of Chandimal, Upul Tharanga stretched to reach a wide delivery from Rabada and snicked it to De Kock. He had indicated that he was not going to hang about by smacking three fours for his 12 runs.
Five balls later, the captain Mathews was on his way, also caught behind. He may have some claim to being beaten by some extra bounce, but having stood so resolutely on wednesday evening for 29, he was expected to handle that delivery better. He had added 20 from 32 balls to his 29 overnight, but Sri Lanka were reeling at 166-7 and Rabada was celebrating a five-wicket haul.
In the press conference the previous evening, he spoke about the dangers that still lurked in the pitch.
‘Some balls will bounce, one will nip, one ball has the potential to misbehave and have the batsmen in trouble,’ he said. ‘You can’t get too complacent here.’ None of that really applied as the batsmen surrendered.
Not much could be expected from the lower order: Rabada picked up his sixth wicket when he bowled a good line with extra bounce, which came off Suranga Lakmal’s glove and carried easily to De Kock. On the back of some flamboyant strokeplay by Rangana Herath, who ended unbeaten with 34 off 43, 33 runs were added for the ninth wicket when Lahiru Kumara (9) was stumped off Keshav Maharaj. Philander closed it off by bowling Nuwan Pradeep for five.
So now it’s off to Johannesburg for the third Test, starting on Jan 12, where the Proteas will be looking for a clean sweep on a wicket far quicker than Newlands.
Here’s a stat for you: Only one pace bowler has taken three six-wicket hauls in Tests by the age of 22. The answer is… But he can thank the Sri Lankan batsmen for that.
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