Twitter Reactions: South Africa decimate depleted Sri Lanka to gain sturdy grip on Day 1

Twitter Reactions: South Africa decimate depleted Sri Lanka to gain sturdy grip on Day 1

Striking 16 fours during his 119-ball stay hitherto, Dean Elgar stood only 8 short of his 13th ton at the close of day’s play.

Dean Elgar
Dean Elgar. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

A fairly depleted Sri Lanka bundled out for 157 in the first innings of the second Test against South Africa, after skipper Dimuth Karunaratne had opted to bat first. It was indeed courageous for a subcontinental leader to opt batting at the dreadful Wanderers, that too against a formidable pace battery of the home side. Not having as many as four of their first-choice players in their top and middle order, Sri Lanka handed debuts to Minod Bhanuka and Asitha Fernando.

Despite the absence of a good bunch of players, when Sri Lanka was only four overs away from Lunch, with the score reading 71 for 1, the Proteas’ camp must have been slightly apprehensive about where the visitors were headed towards. Especially, after their recent record against South Africa and that they were coming straight after recording their highest score (396) in their land in the first innings of the Centurion Test.

Sri Lanka squanders the start after Perera’s blitz

However, all it took was one wrathful spell from Wiaan Mulder, which pushed Sri Lanka into all sorts of trouble, and they went into Lunch being 84 for 5. Anrich Nortje had earlier dismissed Karunaratne (2 from 32) after his just short of a length delivery proved too good for the batsmen. Climbing up as it reached to him, Karunaratne was caught behind as he lobbed the ball through his gloves. The real disaster struck for the visiting party when Mulder got the breakthrough as he dismissed Kusal Perera (60 from 67).

Perera, who reached his half-century in 54 balls, was dictating with the bat, and it was evident from his strike rate, which was 100 after he had played 60 balls. Slamming a slew of eye-catching boundaries, he ticked the scoreboard with such grace and eased momentum that out of Sri Lanka’s initial 71 runs, as many as 60 came from his bat. However, chasing a slightly wide one from Mulder to get caught by Markram not only led to an end of his knock but opened the gate for Mulder to barge in.

Mulder-Nortje’s havoc

Kusal Mendis fell in the same over as Perera for a four-ball duck as he nicked one to Rassie van der Dussen, whereas a sharp low catch at the second slip by Faf du Plessis led to the end of Lahiru Thiramanne (17 from 30) in the following over of Mulder. When Nortje struck to make debutant Minod Bhanuka his second prey on the last ball before Lunch, Sri Lanka slumped to 84 for 5, losing four wickets for 13 runs in the space of four overs.

The slip would continue in the second session as Sri Lanka got wrapped up for 157. If the first session belonged to Mulder, Nortje wiped out the tail of the visitors, claiming a six-wicket haul. Neither Niroshan Dickwella (7) nor Dasun Shanaka (4) lasted too long before failing to Nortje. Some resistance from Wanindu Hasaranga (29 from 27) and Dushmantha Chameera (22 from 29), who added 39 from 44 for the 8th wicket, delayed the inevitable. However, Lutho Sipamla got Hasaranga caught behind to break the stand before Nortje bagged the remaining two to finish with 6 for 56.

South Africa’s fuss-free batting

With the ball, Ashitha Fernando bagged his maiden wicket after Aiden Markram (5 from 21) edged one to Mendis at slips. However, that remained to be the lone success the visitors got with the ball. Striking 16 fours during his 119-ball stay hitherto, Dean Elgar stood only 8 short of his 13th ton at the close of day’s play, adding 114 for the second wicket with Rassie van der Dussen (unbeaten at 40). With only 9 runs short of Sri Lanka’s first innings tally, the home team looks set for taking a big lead unless they do a “Sri Lanka”.

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