Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi took a wicket apiece as Sri Lanka reached 93-2 by lunch on day one of the first Test in Galle.
The majestic city of Galle once again hosted the first Test between the Proteas and Sri Lanka, having done so four years ago.
The Test cricket on display was a true reflection of its surroundings, as Sri Lanka – who elected to bat first after winning the toss – battled it out with the Proteas.
The Sri Lankan openers showed early signs of what’s to come on the dry surface, as they pushed the ball around at just under four runs per over.
Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn opened the bowling for the Proteas as Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne added 41 before Faf du Plessis turned to his golden boy, Rabada.
It took nine balls before he did what a No 1-ranked bowler should. The 23-year-old manufactured speed and bounce out of a low and slow surface as he got the early breakthrough, firing the ball beautifully in the channel outside Gunathilaka’s off-stump and found his edge as Sri Lanka lost their first wicket.
The Proteas brought in their two spinners early, Keshav Maharaj in the 13th over and Shamsi in the 19th.
This could be described as Shamsi’s second debut, as his only other Test came against Australia in Adelaide in 2016. The left-arm chinaman struck in his second over to dismiss Dhananjaya de Silva. Shamsi floated in a beautiful delivery across the right-hander, who looked hesitant to put his front foot forward, and the ball spun back to miss the front pad and the bat, and crashed into his off-stump.
Karunaratne, whose last Test came against Bangladesh on 8 February 2018, steadied himself. He remained unbeaten on 37 along with Kusal Mendis (19), as Sri Lanka reached 93-2 after 26 overs.
Sri Lanka (first innings) 93-2 – Dimuth Karunaratne 37*, Kagiso Rabada 1-17, Tabraiz Shamsi 1-10
Photo: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images