Sri Lanka extended their lead to 365 runs by stumps on day two of the second Test in Colombo.
What a miserable day of Test cricket for the Proteas. They wilted once again in the heat of Sri Lanka and allowed the home side to trample all over them.
The Proteas proved to have learned nothing from the first Test humiliation in Galle. The crushing 278-run defeat exposed two obvious weaknesses for the visitors: their inability to read spin and their struggles to dismiss the tail-enders.
Both weaknesses were exploited on day two in the choking heat in Colombo. Having stalled Sri Lanka’s innings to 277-9 by stumps on day one, the first session on day two saw the Proteas bowlers struggle to find the final wicket.
This highlighted the Proteas’ idiotic decision to not opt for an extra spinner (Tabraiz Shamsi or Shaun von Berg), as Sri Lanka posted 338, with Keshav Maharaj taking nine of the 10 wickets to fall.
This was followed by an equally poor batting display, after the Proteas lost their first three wickets before lunch for 15 runs. Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram all failing to read Sri Lanka’s new spin trio combination.
Faf du Plessis (48) picked his side up slightly after lunch but, in a repeat of the first innings in Galle, he lost his wicket just short of his half-century. The rest of the batting lineup – apart from a 31-ball 32 from Quinton de Kock – crumbled at the hands of Akila Dananjaya (5-52), Dilruwan Perera (4-40) and Rangana Herath (1-32).
Showing no evidence of improvement from the first Test, the Proteas were skittled for 124, less than their first innings total in Galle (126).
Sri Lanka opted not to enforce the follow-on – no doubt fearing the prospect of having to score any runs batting last on this pitch. The Proteas looked dejected as Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne piled on the runs and, led by the former’s second half-century of the match, the pair added 91 to their already hefty lead.
The Proteas’ star of the Test, Maharaj, added to his record innings figures of 9-129 by taking his 10th wicket of the match in luring Gunathilaka to go big, the batsman instead picking out Elgar at deep midwicket. Maharaj followed this with another, dismissing Dhananjaya de Silva lbw for a duck.
Kusal Mendis was run out when Markam collected the ball in the deep and returned it to De Kock who, diving, threw the ball into the stumps with the batsman agonisingly short of the crease.
Karunarathne remained at the crease, making the most of his fine form again as he went effortlessly past 50 for the fourth time in the series, ending the day 59 not out off 92 balls.
Proteas (first innings) 124 – Faf du Plessis 48, Quinton de Kock 32, Akila Dananjaya 5-52, Dilruwan Perera 4-40
Sri Lanka (second innings) 151-3 – Danushka Gunathilaka 60, Dimuth Karunaratne 59*, Keshav Maharaj 2-90
Sri Lanka lead by 365 runs.
Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images/Getty Images