Jul 20, 11 months ago

Sri Lanka kept in check as Keshav Maharaj returns career-best haul

http://sportsinfo.lk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GettyImages-1002348534.jpghttp://sportsinfo.lk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GettyImages-1002348534.jpgSri Lanka kept in check as Keshav Maharaj returns career-best haul

A career-best spell by Keshav Maharaj helped South Africa keep Sri Lanka to 277/9 on the opening day of the second Test in Colombo.

After the hosts got off to a great start, Maharaj, the South Africa left-arm spinner, brought his team back in the game and made merry of the spin-friendly conditions by claiming his career-best innings figures of 8/116 on Friday, 20 July.

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The day started with South Africa, who scored 199 runs in total in the first Test, adding Theunis de Bruyn to their line-up. Vernon Philander and Tabraiz Shamsi were left out and, apart from de Bruyn, Lungi Ngidi brought in.

None of that worked through the first session, though, as Dimuth Karunaratne, the star of Sri Lanka’s win in the first Test, and Danushka Gunathilaka put together 93 runs in 28 overs.

There were a few oohs and aahs here, especially as both batsmen drove the South African pacers uppishly early on, and there were a couple of close calls that went the way of the home team. But the two batsmen held firm and, soon after the break, brought up 100 runs.

It was Sri Lanka’s first century opening partnership since October 2016, and the first at home since the Galle Test against the Windies in 2010.

Both batsmen got their half-centuries on cue as well, but Maharaj came to the party just around then and sent back Karunaratne (53) and Gunathilaka (57) in consecutive overs. The second one was less Maharaj’s wicket and more Kagiso Rabada’s, as Gunathilaka’s slog-sweep looked like it would land in no man’s land before Rabada, running full tilt, caught it on the dive.

That left Sri Lanka at 117/2, and it didn’t take long for Maharaj to make it 153/3 when he had Kusal Mendis slog-sweeping one to Rabada for a more straightforward catch.

Mendis looked good while he lasted, and so did Angelo Mathews, who became the ninth Sri Lankan to score 5000 Test runs during his short stay in the middle. Maharaj had his number too, getting the former captain’s outside edge through to Faf du Plessis at slip. Mathews scored 10.

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There was another decent partnership after that as Dhananjaya de Silva, who had settled in nicely after coming in at No.3, and Roshen Silva added 54 for the fifth wicket. But, not long after de Silva had reached his half-century, Rabada got one of his yorkers through Silva’s fortifications, castling him for 22.

Maharaj was far from done, as he snared four more wickets. Niroshan Dickwella was sent back for 5 after he mis-timed a sweep, and de Silva was then trapped plumb in front for 60.

Dilruwan Perera scored an adventurous 24-ball 17 before sending one straight into the hands of Ngidi at backward square-leg, while Suranga Lakmal lasted just four balls.

South Africa took the new ball late in the day, hoping to finish off the Sri Lankan innings. However, Akila Dananjaya (16*) and Rangana Herath (5*) survived to push their innings to the second day, and make Dale Steyn continue his seemingly never-ending wait for Wicket No.422, which will take him past Shaun Pollock and make him the most successful bowler for South Africa in Tests.

Source | icc-cricket

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