Sri Lanka in con­trol

Spin­ners, Karunaratne help hosts push lead to 272 against Proteas in Galle

Sport360 - - News - By Faisal Ka­mal @Sport360 editorial@sport360.com

Spin­ners led by Dil­ruwan Per­era put hosts Sri Lanka in firm com­mand of the first Test on Fri­day af­ter South Africa were bowled out for 126 – their low­est Test in­nings in the coun­try.

First in­nings cen­tu­rion Dimuth Karunaratne then made a flu­ent 60 as the hosts ended day two on 111 for four, lead­ing by 272 runs at the Galle In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium.

An­gelo Mathews, on 14, and Roshen Silva, on 10, were bat­ting at close of play af­ter left-arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj claimed three wick­ets for South Africa.

But it was the Sri Lankan bowlers who starred on a dra­matic day that wit­nessed South Africa slip to 51-6 be­fore be­ing bowled out in the sec­ond ses­sion of play.

The dis­mal ef­fort set a new low for South Africa in Sri Lanka, worse than their 169 in Colombo in 2006.

“We wanted to take a lead. We stopped easy runs, put pres­sure and got the wick­ets early and things went on pretty well I thought,” Per­era told re­porters. “We didn’t ex­pect to get them bowled out for 126 though,” he added.

Per­era re­turned im­pres­sive fig­ures of 4-46 with his off-spin, while pace­man and stand-in skip­per Su­ranga Lak­mal took three wick­ets.

Vet­eran spin­ner Ran­gana Herath started Sri Lanka’s dom­i­nance by send­ing back night­watch­man Ma­haraj early, and Per­era soon took cru­cial wick­ets in­clud­ing the dan­ger­ous Hashim Amla for 15.

Skip­per Faf du Plessis made a

gritty 49 and his 64-run sev­en­th­wicket part­ner­ship with Ver­non Phi­lan­der, who made 18, was the best that South Africa could muster in their 54.3 overs.

Herath grabbed two wick­ets while left-arm wrist spin­ner Lak­shan San­dakan claimed one – the three spin­ners shar­ing seven wick­ets in to­tal.

Lak­mal did not bowl at all un­til the 37th over of the in­nings, but was ef­fec­tive af­ter lunch on day two, rat­tling the off-stump of Du Plessis with a de­liv­ery that jagged in sharply. Lak­mal then quickly got rid of the num­ber nine and 10 bats­men to end the in­nings with fig­ures of 3-21 from only 4.3 overs.

Hav­ing es­tab­lished a lead of 161, Sri Lanka quickly set about ex­tend­ing it when they be­gan their sec­ond in­nings, with the open­ers putting on a 51-run part­ner­ship.

Karunaratne be­came only the sec­ond Sri Lanka bats­man to score a hun­dred and a fifty in the same Test against South Africa, but was caught at slip off the bowl­ing of Kag­iso Rabada late in the day.

Amla said a lot would de­pend on South Africa’s top or­der if they have to chase over 300 runs on a pitch help­ing spin­ners.

“272 (Sri Lanka’s lead) on that type of wicket is a lot of runs. If we man­age to re­strict them to I’d say 320, then cer­tainly that would be a good tar­get for us,” said Amla.

Turn­ing up the heat: Sri dis­missed South Africa for a record low 126 in the Galle Test.

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