The Proteas suffered yet another top-order collapse as they went into lunch on 73-4 in Port Elizabeth. KHALID MOHIDIN reports.
After electing to bat first, the Proteas had a shocking start with the bat once again, losing three wickets for 15 runs, thanks to exquisite new-ball bowling. The Proteas collapse happened in six balls as their first three wickets fell without any addition to the score.
Vishwa Fernando was superb with the ball for Sri Lanka. He cut through Dean Elgar’s defence and knocked over the left-handed opener’s off stump to remove Elgar for six off 13 balls.
He followed this with an unstoppable inswinger the following delivery to knock over Amla’s middle stump. This was the first time that Amla was dismissed for a first-ball duck in his Test career.
Four balls later came the foolish run-out of Temba Bavuma. Markram played a drive straight to the fielder at mid-on and Bavuma set off for a single that wasn’t called for, and quite frankly wasn’t there. The Highveld Lions batsman was caught way out of his crease after a smart piece of fielding from Kasun Rajitha to see the batsman dismissed for a duck.
Aiden Markam and Faf du Plessis set about building a crucial half-century partnership to ease the nerves of their teammates and Proteas fans. The pair managed to lead the hosts to 73-3 before Du Plessis was bowled by Dimuth Karunaratne off the second-last ball of the morning session.
Markram managed to battle his way to 37 not out as he went into the lunch break and will need a big score to help save the Proteas’ innings.
First Test batting hero Quinton de Kock and debutant Wiaan Mulder will both be called on for serious contributions to ensure that the Proteas post a competitive first-innings score.
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