Sri Lanka fights back, SA 267-6 in first test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sri Lanka had all its suc­cess in the af­ter­noon to pull South Africa back from 104-0 to 267-6 at stumps on the first day of the open­ing Test yes­ter­day. Seamer Su­ranga Lak­mal led Sri Lanka’s re­vival at St. Ge­orge’s Park with four wick­ets and spin­ner Ran­gana Herath took two to undo the South Africans’ work in the first half of the day.

A watch­ful half-cen­tury from Stephen Cook (59) in a cen­tury open­ing stand with Dean El­gar (45) and an at­tack­ing 63 from JP Du­miny gave South Africa early im­pe­tus in the se­ries-opener af­ter win­ning the toss. Sri Lanka per­se­vered af­ter strug­gling in the morn­ing ses­sion. Lak­mal re­moved both openers in the space of four overs soon af­ter lunch be­fore Herath stopped the free-hit­ting Du­miny in his tracks, trap­ping him leg be­fore wicket. Lak­mal also dis­missed cap­tain Faf du Plessis for 37 with the new ball six overs be­fore stumps, sug­gest­ing that Sri Lanka’s bowlers had taken a lit­tle time but had fi­nally found their range on a pitch that had a good cov­er­ing of green grass but didn’t ap­pear to clearly fa­vor ei­ther bats­man or bowler.

Lak­mal’s 4-62 was a ca­reer-best per­for­mance for him in tests. “The first two hours didn’t go our way but we came back strongly,” Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva said.

The Sri Lankans are on a five-test win­ning streak but will es­pe­cially value a strong start in South Africa, hav­ing never won a se­ries in the coun­try.

As well as get­ting rid of the openers, Lak­mal also dis­missed Hashim Amla for a scratchy 20, con­tin­u­ing the South African No. 3’s dip in form and giv­ing the quick bowler all of the first three wick­ets - and all caught be­hind by wick­et­keeper Di­nesh Chandi­mal. Herath had Du­miny and Temba Bavuma (3) out lbw and when Du Plessis, South Africa’s new per­ma­nent skipper, nicked Lak­mal to Di­nesh Karunaratne at first slip at the end of the day, the Sri Lankans strode off to their dress­ing room in the as­cen­dancy.

They had trudged off at lunch with noth­ing to show for their ef­forts from the first ses­sion of the three-test se­ries. Openers Cook and El­gar be­gan with a record, with their part­ner­ship of 104 the first cen­tury open­ing stand for South Africa in Port El­iz­a­beth in nearly 50 years. The last time two openers put on 100 for South Africa was in 1970 and the coun­try’s last test be­fore a 22-year ab­sence from in­ter­na­tional cricket be­cause of apartheid.

Lak­mal pro­duced edges by Cook and El­gar in the space of four overs straight af­ter lunch, though, and con­tin­ued Amla’s lean run. The year started with Amla step­ping down as cap­tain, and mak­ing 201 in a test against Eng­land, but he hasn’t made a 50 in his last seven test in­nings and has gone 10 knocks with­out a hun­dred.Herath, Sri Lanka’s 38-year-old spin­ner, had ar­guably the day’s most im­por­tant break­through when he tempted Du­miny into a sweep and trapped him in front. Du­miny failed with a DRS re­view.

Du­miny had started in a whirl­wind of at­tack­ing shots, even­tu­ally hit­ting 10 fours, most of them blis­ter­ing cover drives. He tried to take the at­tack to Herath, though, and he came un­stuck. “You can get ahead of your­self,” Du­miny said. “The way that Dean (El­gar) and Stephen (Cook) started was ex­cep­tional. We got quite a few starts but un­for­tu­nately we didn’t cap­i­tal­ize on it.” — AP

PORT ELIZABERTH: South African bats­man JP Du­miny plays a shot dur­ing the first day of the first cricket Test match be­tween South Africa and Sri Lanka yes­ter­day at the Port El­iz­a­beth sta­dium, South Africa. —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.