The Proteas find themselves in a powerful position on day four of the first Test at St George’s Park.
South Africa hold all the cards. Thanks to the batting heroics of Stephen Cook (117), and more recently captain Faf du Plessis (41 not out) and Quinton de Kock (42 not out), the hosts finished day three with a commanding 432-run lead.
It remains to be seen when the South Africans will declare. Some might say that the Proteas have more than enough runs on the board. Australia chased down 271 at St George’s Park in 1997, and that fourth-innings effort remains a record at the ground to this day. West Indies hold the record for the highest successful run chase in all Tests (418 against Australia in 2003).
Perhaps Du Plessis will look to bat for one more session. Perhaps the Proteas will look to break the spirit of the Sri Lankans ahead of what could be a decisive second Test at Newlands.
If the Proteas declare at lunch, they should have five full sessions to claim 10 Sri Lankan wickets. Sunny skies are forecast for the remainder of this Test.
SA 1st innings 286 – Duminy 63, Cook 59, Lakmal 5-63, Herath 2-48
SL 1st innings 205 – De Silva 43, Mathews 39, Philander 5-45, Abbott 3-63,
SA 2nd innings 351-5 – Cook 117, Elgar 52, Amla 48, Lakmal 1-56
South Africa lead by 432 runs