Twitter Reactions: Sri Lanka fights back through Karunaratne and Fernando's heroics on Day 2

Twitter Reactions: Sri Lanka fights back through Karunaratne and Fernando’s heroics on Day 2

Sri Lanka finished five runs ahead of the hosts after dismissing them for a score that was nearly double of what they scored after winning the toss.

Vishwa Fernando
Vishwa Fernando. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Test matches can move quickly. And the one ongoing between South Africa and Sri Lanka at the Wanderers certainly did on Day two, by the end of which the visiting party finished five runs ahead of the hosts after dismissing them for a score that was nearly double of what they scored after winning the toss. Far too often in the game, a wicket leads to another, and that one leads to another.

It is a trap no captain wants his team entrapped in. And after doing that to Sri Lanka in the first innings, the Proteas emulated the same when their turn came. The morning witnessed Dean Elgar notching up his 13th and a well-deserved ton. Given that he fell miserably short at Centurion, this one would have been a respite.

Warming himself up, Rassie van der Dussen, who stood unbeaten at 40, added to his overnight score and reached his half-century in the 43rd over as South Africa surpassed Sri Lanka’s tally of 157. Much to the Lankans’ dismay, their bowlers lacked discipline and failed to trouble the duo, whereas Kusal Mendis was kind in giving Dussen a life early in the day.

Vishwa Fernando’s punch curtails South Africa 

The tide-changing moment, however, for Sri Lanka came when Elgar (127) – who was looking well-set for a daddy ton and had extended his alliance with partner Dussen to 184 – hardly jabbed Chameera straight to Thiramanne at first slip. Elgar’s dismissal opened the magical door for Sri Lanka, who inflicted a serious collapse, and South Africa lost their next 9 adding just 84.

With the score stranded at 218, Dussen (67) was caught behind by Dickwella off Shanaka, who struck soon again, this time to undo the hero of Centurion – Faf du Plessis – for 8. When Quinton de Kock edged Vishwa Fernando to Mendis at second slip, the increasingly dim chances of the hosts  managing a mammoth lead dimmed further.

Resuming 256 for 5 after lunch, the session entirely belonged to Fernando, who bagged his maiden fifer and struck on the second ball post-lunch to trap Wiaan Mulder (7) leg before. Meanwhile, Keshav Maharaj fell to debutant Asitha Fernando, the other Fernando wrapped the entire tail after he dismissed Temba Bavuma, who chose not to offer a shot before being dismissed LBW.

The Proteas’ lower-order did not offer much resistance, barring a brief stay of Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla – they added 19 for the last wicket in 37 deliveries. 

Karunaratne leads valiantly from the front

Being dismissed for 302, South Africa still managed a sizeable lead of 145, if not a massive one. The second innings for Sri Lanka started ominously as Lungi Ngidi’s peach of a delivery from round the wicket removed Kusal Mendis for just 1. Not much went the home side’s way for a good patch of play that witnessed skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne add 85 for the second wicket, thereby ensuring that they do not lose their path.

The duo manoeuvre the pacers with commendable ease until Thirimanne brought his solid 31 to an end by gloving Ngidi’s drifting-away delivery to de Kock behind. The 86 for 2 soon slipped to 109 for 4 as Ngidi dismissed Kusal Mendis the same way. A sensational diving catch by de Kock, after Mendis worked an innocuous delivery from Ngidi down the leg side, was sufficient for the batsman to record a hat-trick of ducks in the series.

Sri Lanka finished the day not before losing another one in the form of Minod Bhanuka, who failed to synchronize his shot with the searing pace of Anrich Nortje, and top-edged a pull to Keshav Maharaj, who gobbled a sensational catch at midwicket.

Karunaratne, who stood not out at 91, was joined by Nirsohan Dickwella, who added 41 from 70 with him, and scoring 18 of those himself, ensuring that Sri Lanka did not lose another before the close of day’s play.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: