Twitter Reactions: Faf du Plessis agonisingly falls short of a double ton

Twitter Reactions: Faf du Plessis agonisingly falls short of a double ton

Resuming action on the third morning, Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma barely looked like they ever took a break.

Faf du Plessis SA
Faf du Plessis SA. (Photo Source: Twitter)

South Africa bounced back severely on the third day after being thrown under the pump by Sri Lanka in the first innings. When the visitors piled up their highest score in Tests in South Africa, little would have they thought that some exceptional batting prowess of the opponents and their toothless bowling would allow the Proteas to take command with such exceptionality.

Resuming action on the third morning, Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma barely looked like they ever took a break. Starting cautiously in the morning, they soon started slamming runs at a convenient pace continuing to rebuke the undisciplined lines and lack of control of the Sri Lankan bowlers, thereby getting rid of their first-innings lead. It seemed as if Temba Bavuma (71) showed mercy on the hapless bowlers as he chased a wide-ish delivery from Shanaka and walked back without having nicked it.

Soon after Bavuma’s exit, Faf du Plessis notched up his century, and much to Sri Lanka’s disappointment, the new man Wiaan Mulder played with intent to assist a free-flowing du Plessis at the other end, as South Africa entered into lunch at 435 for 5, looking solidly set for something massive to follow.

Raining injuries leave Sri Lanka reeling

Coming back after the break, Faf du Plessis clarified his intentions as he slapped two consecutive boundaries off Vishwa Fernando. A disaster struck for Sri Lanka in the session when Lahiru Kumara had to walk out of the field after bowling his first ball in the session. The injury-marred line up of the visiting party would have a few more additions as Wanindu Hasaranga injured himself as he dived in the outfield to save a boundary. Having added 77 with Wiaan Mulder (36), the partnership was brought to an end by Hasaranga, who made Mulder edge one into the hands of the wicketkeeper.

Things continued to go from bad to worse as a 134-run stand with Keshav Maharaj, who made a career-best 73 followed. Missing as many as three of their designated bowlers, skipper Karunatatne had to bring in Kusal Mendis and himself into the attack – a blessing for the already-cruising Proteas, who hastened the run rate evermore. By the end of the session, the home team managed to take a 169-run lead, with Faf du Plessis nearing his maiden double century.

Faf du Plessis misses the Double

Coming into the final session of the day, a rather anticlimactic tale followed as du Plessis fell excruciatingly short (199 from 276) of his double century as he picked Karunaratne at mid-on while trying to clear him. Keshav Maharaj added a few more before the Sri Lankans finally wrapped them up for 621, a lead of 225.

In response, the Proteas managed to make early inroads as Lungi Ngidi struck in the second over his spell, cleaning up skipper Karunaratne for only 6. He returned in the following over to undo Kusal Mendis for a duck, as the batsman’s outside edge flew straight into slips. Sri Lanka somehow was steadied by Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal, who stood unbeaten at 33 and 21, respectively at the close of day’s play, with Sri Lanka lagging by 160 runs.

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