The Proteas’ woes deepened after losing Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram before lunch on day two of the second Test in Colombo.
It was a frustrating start to the day for the Proteas. After limiting Sri Lanka to 277-9, Rangana Herath (35) and Akila Dananjaya (43) held the Proteas at bay, adding 74 runs for the 10th wicket to lift their side’s first-innings total to 338.
The pair recorded Sri Lanka’s second-highest 10th wicket partnership, behind the 79 set by Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Muttiah Muralitharan against Australia in 2004.
The mountainous task ahead of the Proteas got steeper when they lost three wickets for 15 runs before lunch. Dananjaya and Herath followed on their heroics with the bat by producing a sharp performance of spin bowling to topple the Proteas’ top three.
Elgar was the first to go. Coming from around the wicket, Dananjaya squared the opener as he attempted to push forward and play to leg, Elgar succeeding only in edging the ball to second slip.
De Bruyn – the extra batsman brought in to strengthen the Proteas’ batting lineup – was fooled by a straighter one delivered comfortably outside off stump from Dananjaya. The batsman pushed too far at it and nicked it to Niroshan Dickwella who gloved the catch with ease.
Markram played for the turn but failed to read a slider from Herath and was dismissed leg before for seven.
Hashim Amla – who became the third South African to reach 9,000 Test runs after a loose drive was put down in the covers – will need to stick around with his captain Faf du Plessis in an attempt to save the Proteas from another humiliating innings collapse.
Sri Lanka (first innings) 338 – Dhananjaya de Silva 60, Danushka Gunathilaka 57, Dimuth Karunaratne 53, Keshav Maharaj 9-129.
Proteas (first innings) 19-3 – Hashim Amla 7*, Akila Dananjaya 2-6, Rangana Herath 1-4
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