Sri Lanka 338 (de Silva 60, Maharaj 9-129) and 151 for three (Gunathilaka 61, Karunaratne 59*, Maharaj 2-90) lead South Africa 124 (du Plessis 48, Akila 5-52, Dilruwan Four-40) by 365 runs
Think Galle, and now consider how issues might have turn out to be extra galling for South Africa. That’s what occurred on the second day on the SSC, the place Sri Lanka took vital strides in the direction of a sequence win.
South Africa succumbed to their second-lowest whole in Sri Lanka, a mere seven days after they’d slumped to their lowest on the island, to concede a first-innings lead of 214 runs. Sri Lanka’s spinners ripped by way of them for a 3rd time, with Akila Dananjaya selecting up his second five-wicket haul in his third Test. Akila had a day to recollect, after additionally notching up a career-best undefeated 43 to assist Sri Lanka swell their first-innings whole to 338.
Already that looks like sufficient, however with three days left within the match, Sri Lanka will look to pile it on, having chosen to not implement the follow-on, in opposition to a carrying assault. Dale Steyn stays a wicket away from overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s main Test bowler, however delivered 4 overs with out success, bowling third change. Lungi Ngidi, who left the sector in Sri Lanka’s first innings after being pinged on the shin when he dropped a return catch supplied by Akila in his follow-through, returned through the second innings however solely bowled fourth change, forcing Faf du Plessis to make use of part-timers Aiden Markram and Theunis de Bruyn. Kagiso Rabada shared the brand new ball with Keshav Maharaj, the one bowler to make some incisions.
Maharaj’s first innings nine-for surpassed Allan Donald’s eight for 71 in Harare in 1995 as the perfect figures by a South African bowler away from residence and second-best figures by a South African in an innings, anyplace. He picked up two second-innings wickets, placing him simply two behind Makhaya Ntini’s 13 scalps, essentially the most in a match by a South African, however his efforts are unlikely to avoid wasting South Africa.
So far on this sequence, the visiting batsmen have lasted 54.three, 28.5 and 34.5 overs – a complete of 118.1 overs – the equal of below 4 classes in three innings. They have scored fewer runs in whole, 323 in three innings, than Sri Lanka’s top-scorer Dimuth Karunaratne, who’s unbeaten on 59, with 329 runs within the sequence and counting.
South Africa’s method in opposition to spin continues to be muddled and so they have did not reply essentially the most urgent questions on batting on the subcontinent. Should they play for the flip, or not? Should they sweep, or not? Should they defend, or not?
Some of them, clearly, can’t belief their defence. Like Dean Elgar. He blocked the primary three balls he confronted, from Dilruwan Perera, after which went ahead to dead-bat a fourth however Akila acquired the ball to dip, spin away and take the sting. Dhananjaya de Silva took a great, low catch at second slip.
Others are uncertain what the ball is doing out of the hand. Like Theunis de Bruyn, who was included as a seventh specialist batsman and moved to No.three. He performed for flip to an Akila ball that went on straight and was caught behind. Or Aiden Markram. He was trapped lbw, additionally enjoying for flip in opposition to Rangana Herath.
Sri Lanka’s veteran solely took one wicket in South Africa’s first innings, although he might have had two, Hashim Amla dropped off him when he drove to quick cowl just for Danushka Gunathilaka to fluff the possibility. Instead, Amla grew to become solely the third South African to achieve 9,000 Test runs. That quantity will obtain its dues in years to come back. For now, South Africa want him to play like a person with 9,000 runs to his title and that didn’t occur.
Amla confirmed some indicators of regaining kind in a 55-run stand with du Plessis which was additionally the second-highest partnership South Africa have posted all sequence, however it was du Plessis who seemed in management. The captain confirmed intent instantly after lunch when he struck 5 boundaries in six balls, and wanted help. Amla couldn’t present it when he inside-edged onto his pad to supply quick leg a catch and begin the procession.
Then the sweep got here into play. Du Plessis prospered and perished by the shot, finally bottom-edging a Dilruwan supply that was confirmed to have made contact with the bat on assessment. Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock had been each assured on the sweep, however by then, South Africa’s troubles had been too deep.
Bavuma chipped a catch to quick leg, Maharaj top-edged a sweep to sq. leg and de Kock was pinned on the entrance pad to present Akila his fifth.
After all that, South Africa needed to take the sector again and seemed as if they wished to be anyplace however in Colombo. A flat first 18 overs allowed Sri Lanka’s openers to race to 91 with out loss, with Gunathilaka scoring a second half-century within the Test earlier than holing out to deep midwicket. In his subsequent over, Maharaj efficiently reviewed an lbw attraction in opposition to de Silva and the one different wicket fell when Kusal Mendis was run out. Karunaratne stays in management and with Elgar extracting sharp flip within the ultimate over of the day, it appears just one consequence will be achieved.