Sri Lanka skittled the Proteas for 222 runs and finished on 60-3 at the end of day one of the second Test at George’s Park. KHALID MOHIDIN reports.
It was another disappointing Test performance from the Proteas against Sri Lanka, but Thursday’s performance was solely due to clinical bowling from Sri Lanka, and quite frankly, another sub-par batting from the home side.
The Proteas collapse happened in six balls as their first three wickets fell without any addition to the score. Vishwa Fernando (3-62) was particularly impressive slicing through the defences of Dean Elgar (six) and Hashim Amla (duck) and bowling both top-order batsmen.
The Proteas managed to recover somewhat through Aiden Markam and Faf du Plessis, who built a half-century partnership to ease the nerves of their teammates and Proteas fans. Once again the Proteas suffered a blow in the last over before a break, with Du Plessis losing his wicket for 25 on the stroke of lunch as Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne slipped one through his opposite number’s defences.
Wickets continued to fall after the break, but not without resistance from Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock.
Markram scored his sixth half-century and helped take the Proteas from 73-4 to 130-5, when Kasun Rajitha (3-67) trapped the Proteas opener lbw with his score on 60. This was the first of Rajitha’s three wickets in the innings, and he followed his first strike with the wickets of debutant Wiaan Mulder (nine) and Keshav Maharaj (duck) as the Proteas were reduced to 157-7.
De Kock then proceeded to edge the Proteas closer to the 200-run mark by tea.
De Kock (86) built a strong resistance with a resolute Kagiso Rabada until the Proteas’ batting saviour was bowled by spinning all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva (2-15). De Silva followed this wicket with the dismissal of Rabada (22 off 65 balls), and Fernando wrapped things up with his third wicket (Olivier, for a duck), as the Proteas were skittled for 222.
Sri Lanka started their chase respectably, but Rabada (1-14) and Duanne Olivier (2-25) picked up three important wickets to wrestle a bit of the initiative back for the Proteas.
Karunaratne (17), Oshada Fernando (0) and Kusal Mendis (16) all lost their wickets as Sri Lanka finished the day on 60-3 after 20 overs to trail the Proteas by 162 runs.
Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images