De Silva de­fies South African pace at­tack

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Dhanan­jaya de Silva kept Sri Lanka’s hopes alive with a de­fi­ant in­nings on the sec­ond day of the first Test against South Africa at St Ge­orge’s Park yesterday. De Silva made 43 not out as Sri Lanka strug­gled to 181 for seven still 105 runs be­hind South Africa’s first in­nings to­tal of 286 - be­fore bad light ended play.

South African new ball bowlers Ver­non Phi­lan­der and Kyle Ab­bott put the Sri Lankan bats­men un­der pres­sure in seam-friendly con­di­tions, with the first three wick­ets fall­ing for 22 runs. It looked as though a full-scale col­lapse was pos­si­ble but Sri Lankan cap­tain An­gelo Mathews made a solid 39 be­fore De Silva came out to bat at num­ber seven and played an im­pres­sive in­nings, with as­sis­tance from Di­nesh Chandi­mal and Ran­gana Herath.

It was not a wholly im­pres­sive per­for­mance by the South African bowlers. Phi­lan­der and Ab­bott both bowled well, tak­ing three for 35 and two for 49 re­spec­tively, but ris­ing star Kag­iso Rabada had an off day. Rabada strug­gled to find his rhythm and con­ceded 63 runs in 13 overs, al­though he did take the key wicket of Mathews, caught low down at third slip by Dean El­gar.

De Silva, play­ing in only his sixth Test, showed some of the qual­ity that has al­ready brought him cen­turies against Aus­tralia and Zim­babwe, al­though he sur­vived a caught and bowled chance to left-arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj when he was on 27. When play ended he had faced 69 balls and hit five fours. The day started well for Sri Lanka when fast bowler Su­ranga Lak­mal, play­ing in his 32nd Test, took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, fin­ish­ing with five for 63, as South Africa lost their last four wick­ets for 19 runs. The previous Test best for Lak­mal, 29, was four for 78 against Pak­istan in Dubai in Jan­uary 2014. Phi­lan­der was caught at deep square leg when he top-edged a pull against Nuwan Pradeep in the fifth over of the morn­ing af­ter

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