Cook hits cen­tury as South Africa dom­i­nate

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Stephen Cook hit a cen­tury as South Africa took con­trol on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at St Ge­orge’s Park yes­ter­day.

South Africa were 351 for five at the close, an over­all lead of 432 on a ground where no team has suc­cess­fully chased more than 271 in the fourth in­nings.

In con­trast to the first two days, when seam bowlers held sway, South Africa scored freely against a lack­lus­tre bowl­ing at­tack on a pitch which seemed to have flat­tened out.

Cook made 117 to lead a pow­er­ful bat­ting per­for­mance by the hosts.

He shared cen­tury part­ner­ships with Dean El­gar (52) and Hashim Amla (48).

Cook and El­gar put on 116 for the first wicket, their sec­ond three-fig­ure open­ing stand of the match. Then Cook and Amla added 105 for the sec­ond wicket off only 118 balls as the Sri Lankan bowlers and field­ers wilted.

Af­ter two in­ter­rup­tions for rain, the play­ing hours were changed and South Africa scored 182 runs off 40 overs in an ex­tended post-lunch pe­riod. They added another 131 off 29 overs be­fore the close.

Cook, who made his third cen­tury in only seven Tests, sur­vived a chance to gully off Su­ranga Lak­mal when he was on 62, but played with more free­dom than in pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ances. He reached his fifty off 81 balls and his hun­dred off 152 de­liv­er­ies.

He was out soon af­ter tea when he edged an at­tempted cut against Dush­man­tha Chameera to be caught be­hind. His Test-best 117 was scored off 178 balls with 11 fours.

With Sri Lanka set­ting de­fen­sive fields, the South African bats­men were able to score plenty of sin­gles and keep the score mov­ing. They lost two more wick­ets, both to off-spin­ner Dhanan­jaya de Silva, be­fore cap­tain Faf du Plessis and Quin­ton de Kock added an un­beaten 74 off 92 balls be­fore the close. An indi­ca­tion of the lack of con­trol ex­erted by the Sri Lankan bowlers was that they only bowled three maiden overs dur­ing the in­nings, two of them by Lak­mal, who added the wicket of El­gar to the five he col­lected in the first in­nings. But Lak­mal, who bowled 27 overs in the first in­nings, sel­dom threat­ened yes­ter­day.

Sri Lanka were bowled out early in the day for 205, with Ver­non Phi­lan­der fin­ish­ing with five for 45, los­ing their re­main­ing three wick­ets for 24 runs.

Phi­lan­der struck twice in the first over of the day af­ter Sri Lanka re­sumed at 181 for seven. His first ball was a per­fect outswinger which De Silva edged to wick­et­keeper De Kock. De Silva had bat­ted im­pres­sively to make 43 on Tues­day but Phi­lan­der made the ball de­vi­ate just enough to catch the edge as De Silva played back de­fen­sively.

Lak­mal hit a bound­ary but then chipped the fi­nal ball of the over to Kyle Ab­bott at mid-on. Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep added 20 for the last wicket be­fore Chameera edged Ab­bott to Amla at first slip af­ter mak­ing a Test-best 19. Ab­bott fin­ished with three for 63.

PORT EL­IZ­A­BETH: South African bats­man Stephen Cook (R) raises his bat as he cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing a cen­tury (100 Runs) dur­ing the sec­ond day of the first cricket Test match be­tween South Africa and Sri Lanka yes­ter­day at the Port El­iz­a­beth sta­dium, South Africa.

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