Dilruwan, Herath rout South Africa in three days

16 July, 2018, 09:30 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Test match

South Africa was bowled out for its lowest total since readmission to worldwide cricket on Saturday, handing Sri Lanka a 278-run win in the first Test with two full days to spare.

Commentator and former Sri Lanka worldwide Russel Arnold most starkly summed up South Africa's ignominy: "199 for 20", he chortlingly reminded of the visitors' match tally, hardly having to reach for any further salt to sprinkle on the wound.

Chasing a target of 352 after bowling Sri Lanka out for 190 in their second innings, the South African batsmen simply showed their deficiencies against spin on a pitch that did not afford the kind of turn that is usually associated with the venue.

Dilruwan returned impressive figures of four for 46 with his off-spin, while paceman and stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal took three wickets.

A day after making a remarkable unbeaten 158, Dimuth Karunaratne again tormented South Africa with a half-century as Sri Lanka began to lock up the first test after day two on Friday. "We played a warm-up game which was a flat wicket - it didn't spin", du Plessis said. Skipper Faf du Plessis' contribution was 1 run as he handed Rangana Herath the catch and then Aiden Markram's stay ended on 19.

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"After I got injured, I worked really hard in the A team to get my form back", Karunaratne said. They had last month beaten West Indies by six wickets in the night Test played at Barbados.

"We know the Sri Lankan spinners are very, very good, especially in their own conditions".

However, Sri Lanka weren't done yet. However, Kagiso Rabada drew a thick outside edge that saw him Karunaratne finally dismissed, with Maharaj (3-37) enabling South Africa to get into the Sri Lanka middle order before Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva reached the close unscathed. "We want to get stuck in and bat for as long as possible". There were one or two more expansive shots than we would normally play, but the thinking behind the batting was to try and put some pressure back on the bowling, because they don't give you anything. There were one or two batters in their batting line up that found it a little bit easier, and the rest didn't. They survived an early shout off Herath and got to lunch at a nervy 5/0. "If it reverses, our seamers become a threat, but because of the wet outfield reverse wasn't a factor".

The Galle pitch, though spinner-friendly, was not outlandish and the bowlers relied more on accuracy than mystery. The shape that he has is a lot different than the pace you can practice against.

Du Plessis noted that more than any demons in the surface, South Africa were undone by how Sri Lanka's spinners went about their business.

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