CENTURION – Sri Lanka is still firmly in control of the first Test against South Africa on the scoreboard, but injuries may compromise that position as the match unfolds.
At lunch on the second day, the tourists are down to nine men, after their medical staff confirmed that Dhananjaya de Silva, one of the heroes for the first day, was out of the remainder of the tour with a torn thigh muscle, while on Sunday, new ball bowler Kusan Rajitha left the field at the start of his third over.
South Africa reached the interval on 45/0 with Aiden Markram on 27, an innings that has already featured some beautiful drives through the covers, and Dean Elgar on 15.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for 396 an hour into the day’s play, with Dasun Shanaka producing some dismissive blows in his unbeaten innings of 66, that came off 60 balls and included three fours and five sixes.
For the first half and hour of play South Africa’s brains appeared to be scrambled as they could find no method against Shanaka. Quinton de Kock posted funky fields for Anrich Nortje, that included, first slip, gully, a leg gully, shortleg, and a long stop but Shanaka paid it no heed and smashed two sixes, one over square leg and the other over point, before glancing one over De Kock’s head where that long stop did come into play.
Lutho Sipamla was brought on at the West Lane End, a move that paid immediate dividends as he removed Rajitha – who’d occupied the crease for 79 minutes – with one that left him off the pitch , giving Elgar an easy catch at third slip. With his next delivery, Sipamla blew through the defences of Vishwa Fernando giving himself the opportunity for a hat-trick. It was a chance he couldn’t take however as his attempt at a yorker was kept out by Lahiru Kumara.
Nevermind in his next over he found the outside edge of the Sri Lankan number eleven’s bat with Rassie Van Der Dussen at first slip juggling the ball a few times before eventually holding on. Sipamla’s much improved display compared to a no doubt nervy start to his debut Test on Saturday saw him pitch the ball up, with a line that was closer to the stumps, and he’s final figures of 4/76, were richly deserved.
Wiaan Mulder with 3/69 was the next most successful South African bowler.