Sri Lanka started their chase of 304 and headed into tea on 28-0 in the first Test against the Proteas at Kingsmead. KHALID MOHIDIN reports.
The Proteas were in control during the morning session. Half-centuries from Quinton de Kock and Du Plessis helped the hosts take a 271-run lead into lunch.
The wicket of De Kock shortly before the break meant that Du Plessis needed to marshall the lower order to help his side post a defendable total.
The second session saw Sri Lanka fight back as the Proteas added only 32 runs for the fall of five wickets.
Debutant left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya had the perfect start to his Test career by finishing with 5-66 that included the wickets of Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma and Dale Steyn.
Vishwa Fernando, in his first tour to South Africa, was particularly effective after lunch. He took the crucial wicket of Du Plessis, whose 90 held the Proteas’ innings together and pushed them towards their desired 300-run lead.
Fernando then proceeded to wipe out the tail by dismissing Keshav Maharaj and Dale Steyn to bowl the Proteas out for 259. The speedy end to their innings gave Sri Lanka some hope, as it left them with a target of 304 for victory.
Sri Lanka’s openers Dimuth Karunaratne (11) and Lahiru Thirimanne (17) had a strong start despite having to face the deadly swing that Steyn and Philander were producing.
The pair managed to work through their initial nervy start and played some confident cricket shots, finding the gaps as a result.
Sri Lanka finished the session on 28-0 with 276 needed to win.
Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images