The South African top-order, led by Faf du Plessis’s 79, got in a good day’s batting as they ended on 338, a lead of 51 over a Sri Lanka XI in their warm-up match in Colombo.
But it was a poor showing from No 6 down to No 10, who collectively scored just 41 runs between them and all falling to spin. The total was nevertheless boosted by a lusty 26 off 20 balls (one four, three sixes) from No 11 Dale Steyn.
On the positive side, Hashim Amla was able to retire on 78 after he was satisfied of having the measure of pace, having struck 11 fours among the 114 balls he faced. Du Plessis took the aggressive line, smashing his 79 off 85 balls, with 13 fours and a six.
The Proteas had begun the day on 17-1, the first-ball dismissal of Aiden Markram the only blip on the top-order scorecard. Dean Elgar progressed from 14 overnight to 43 during a partnership with Amla, taking the score to 78, when he fell to right-arm seamer Vikum Sanjaya, who in his one and only spell had conceded just four runs off five overs.
Amla batted on for another 21 overs, alongside Temba Bavuma before making way for Du Plessis. Both passed 50, when Bavuma was caught behind off the legbreak spin of Wanindu Hasaranga. Bavuma’s 58 came with six fours and a six at a steady 56.31, while Du Plessis took the fight to the bowlers. Theunis De Bruyn (11) and Quinton de Kock (two) fell quickly either side of tea, followed in short order by Vernon Philander (duck) and Kagiso Rabada (10), three of whom, at least, would be expected to make a contribution come the first Test in Galle starting Thursday.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix