Sri Lanka vs South Africa: 1st Test, Review - Proteas shoulder arms against quality spin; suffer a huge 278-run thumping

Sri Lanka vs South Africa: 1st Test, Review – Proteas shoulder arms against quality spin; suffer a huge 278-run thumping

In the third afternoon at Galle, South Africa’s agony came to an end as they were bowled out for 73 their lowest Test score since readmission.

Dilruwan Perera Sri Lanka vs South Africa
Dilruwan Perera. (Photo Source: ICC)

In the third afternoon at Galle, South Africa’s agony came to an end as they were bowled out for 73 their lowest Test score since readmission. Their bowlers did well on the third morning and though Angelo Mathews scored 35, the Lankans were bowled out for 190 in the second innings. Keshav Maharaj picked 4, Kagiso Rabada bagged three while Tabriz Shamsi got just one and with the last wicket of the innings Dale Steyn equalled Shaun Pollock’s tally of highest Test wickets by a South African.

The target for South Africa was 352, their efforts in the second innings couldn’t make a lot of difference as they had conceded a first innings lead of 161 runs. It was Dilruwan Perera who stole the show on the third day. He didn’t have to do a lot as the batsmen themselves were throwing their bat at almost everything and gifting wickets.

Perera runs through Proteas batting

When Vernon Philander is the highest contributor with the bat you know there are more than a few problems with your batting. Dean Elgar attempting to play a big shot danced down the track and was stumped, Hashim Amla edged one and was caught exceptionally by Dhananjaya de Silva and so was Temba Bavuma. Skipper Faf du Plessis’ contribution was 1 run as he handed Rangana Herath the catch and then Aiden Markram’s stay ended on 19.

It was all falling apart for South Africa. The pitch didn’t have demons, Dimuth Karunaratne had shown that in both the innings but everyone else seemed to be batting on another surface. Perera and Herath both used simple tactics of setting the batsmen up with the one that was going away and then striking with the arm ball or making them play for the turn.

Kagiso Rabada playing and missing a few balls that moved away and then shoulder arming the arm ball from Perera to see the ball hit his off-stump was the story of the match as most batsmen had no clue how to deal with this sort of a challenge. The Proteas lower order also didn’t offer any resistance and Lakshan Sandakan, the third spinner in the Lankan bowling attack was introduced in the 29th over struck on the 5th ball to wrap things up.

Perera concluded with a six-wicket haul completing ten wickets in the game and has proved that he can take charge of the spin-bowling department once the 40-year-old Herath decides to end his extended Test career. Herath will also want to add a few more to his 423 wickets tally before he hangs his boots.

Earlier in the match, Karunaratna scored a hundred in absence of Dinesh Chandimal and with contribution from the lower order ensured they posted 287 runs in the first innings. It was Rabada who picked a four-wicket haul for South Africa and chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi who did most of the damage with his three wickets.

South Africa’s first innings was all about skipper Faf’s 49 as no other batsman even managed to score 20. Perera picked four wickets while skipper Suranga Lakmal wrapped things up with three wickets skittling out the tail without much ado.

Heading to Colombo for the final Test, Sri Lanka will want to roll out a similar pitch and Faf du Plessis along with Ottis Gibson and the team’s batting coach have a lot of work to do.

Sanga relieved

Brief Scores:

1st Innings:

Sri Lanka – 287 all out (Dimuth Karunaratne 158*; Kagiso Rabada 4/50, Tabraiz Shamsi 3/91)

South Africa – 126 all out (Faf du Plessis 49; Dilruwan Perera 4/46, Suranga Lakmal 3/21)

2nd Innings:

Sri Lanka – 190 all out (Karunaratne 60; Keshav Maharaj 4/58)

South Africa – 73 all out (Vernon Philander 22*; Dilruwan Perera 6/32, Rangana Herath 3/38)

Sri Lanka won by 278 runs.