Jul 22, 3 months ago

Dominant Sri Lanka Show No Mercy

Dominant Sri Lanka Show No Mercy

Sri Lanka dominated another day in a series full of them, ending the second day of the Colombo Test at 151/3, a lead of 365, after bundling out South Africa for 124 on Saturday 21 July.

By the time stumps were drawn, Dimuth Karunaratne had reached a fourth consecutive half-century in the series, and was unbeaten on a 92-ball 59*. South Africa’s prospects of saving the series now look miniscule.

The omens on the second morning weren’t great for the visitors. Sri Lanka resumed the day at 277/9 in their first innings, but for all South Africa’s hopes of snuffing them out early and working towards the total, the last-wicket pair of Rangana Herath (35) and Akila Dananjaya (43*) added 74 to boost them to 338.

South Africa never looked like matching that total. They lost three wickets within the 11 overs that remained in the morning session – Dean Elgar (0), Theunis de Bruyn (3) and Aiden Markram (7) – and after resumption, they failed to build partnerships big enough to make any serious dent on the home side.

There were a couple of promising associations. Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla added 55 runs for the fourth wicket, displaying the sort of patience needed to tackle spin in the sub-continent. However, Sri Lanka harried, and eventually broke through, with Dilruwan Perera prompting an inside-edge off Amla (19) that lobbed to the short-leg fielder.

Du Plessis, who had scored a decent 51-ball 48, then gave his wicket away needlessly. He looked to go big through mid-wicket, having found success in that region in the previous ball, but the ambitious sweep was mis-timed, and he feathered an edge to the ‘keeper.

Quinton de Kock then counter-attacked for a 31-ball 32, but that apart, there was little else of note as far as the batting was concerned. South Africa were bundled out within 35 overs, with Dananjaya returning an excellent 5/52. Perera, who returned 4/40, picked up a majority of the remaining wickets.

South Africa conceded a lead of 214, but Sri Lanka opted not to enforce the follow-on. Instead, they looked to bat their way out of South Africa’s reach. They had more than done that by the time the umpire dislodged the bails for the last time, and once again, the openers played a massive role in that.

Karunaratne and Dhanushka Gunathilaka added 91 for the opening wicket within just 19 overs, with both batsmen once again scoring half-centuries. Keshav Maharaj, who had picked up his ninth wicket of the first innings earlier in the day, eventually broke the stand when Gunathilaka holed out for a 68-ball 61.

Dhananjaya de Silva followed suit fairly quickly, trapped in front by Maharaj for nought, and Kusal Mendis ran himself out for a 27-ball 18 shortly thereafter. But none of that really mattered. Karunaratne kept the scoreboard ticking, refusing to give his wicket away cheaply, not satiated despite scoring a fourth consecutive half-century.

South Africa were despondent as they walked back afterwards. Karunaratne, in contrast, was all smiles. He might not get a chance to add to his score on the third morning if Sri Lanka captain Suranga Lakmal decides to declare.

Source | icc-cricket


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