Sri Lanka vs South Africa: 2nd Test, Day 1, Review- Keshav Maharaj scripts a satisfactory day for the Proteas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa: 2nd Test, Day 1, Review- Keshav Maharaj scripts a satisfactory day for the Proteas

The Lankans concluded the day at 277/9 in 86 overs.

Keshav Maharaj
Keshav Maharaj celebrates a wicket. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa turned out to be a one-sided affair as the hosts’ spinners ripped the heart out of the Proteas batting. Having already found themselves on the back-foot, Faf du Plessis’ men had the huge task of making a comeback. At the close of play on the first day of the second Test in Colombo, the visitors would be satisfied as they restricted the Lankans to 277/9 in 86 overs.

Gunathilaka and Karunaratne takes Lanka to the ascendancy  

Suranga Lakmal won the toss and elected to bat first and the decision paid dividends as Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne buckled down to form a partnership. The openers didn’t play a false stroke and ensured that their team ends the first session at the score of 93 runs from 28 overs. While Gunathilaka scored 44, Karunaratne ended the session on 42.

Dale Steyn, who could only pick up a couple of wickets in the first Test, ran in and bowled his heart out. However, the Lankans staved him off without dropping much sweat. Kagiso Rabada, from the other end, bowled well and didn’t dish out loose deliveries, but the patience of the Islanders’ opening batsmen played him out too without much fuss.

Maharaj brings Proteas back

The visiting team had a task on their hands to resurrect the wobbly start. Keshav Maharaj struck first blood when he removed Karunaratne, who scored 53 runs from 110 balls. Quinton de Kock took a sharp catch down the leg side to complete the dismissal. He inflicted the body blow with the wicket of Gunathilaka, the other opener, who also racked up a half-century.

Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis put on 36 runs and just when they seemed like compiling a stand, Maharaj trapped Mendis in front. The decision was overturned after South Africa went for the referral. Angelo Mathews and de Silva played out the session with any more hiccup. Sri Lanka went to tea with 163 runs from 54 overs and had a tricky third session ahead of them.

Maharaj runs through the batting lineup

The third and final session belonged to du Plessis and Co as Maharaj wrecked havoc and finished with figures of 32-6-116-8 after 86 overs of riveting cricket. Mathews was the left-arm spinner’s fourth victim as his skipper grasped a simple catch at first slip. Roshen Silva and de Silva cobbled together 54 runs and looked determined to end the day on a happy note.

De Silva accomplished his third fifty and his team wanted him to carry on. The partnership was broken when Rabada castled Silva with a corker to pick up his first wicket. Niroshan Dickwella couldn’t survive the heat as Maharaj dismissed him to pick up a five-wicket haul. To Lanka’s agony, they lost de Silva and well and truly stared down the barrel for a below par score.

Dilruwan Perera spanked three boundaries but fell prey to the Proteas’ tweaker. Suranga Lakmal perished for a duck in the same over Aiden Markram took a  marvelous one-handed catch at short extra cover. The home team found themselves in dire straits and were in danger of being bowled out on the first day itself. Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya played out the remaining overs safely.

Brief Scores

Sri Lanka: 277/9 in 86 overs; (Dhananjaya de Silva 60, Danushka Gunathilaka 57; Keshav Maharaj 8/116, Kagiso Rabada 1/37)

Close of Play: Day 1