Sri Lanka © AFP

By R Vishal

Jul 26, 2014

Dilruwan Perera’s five wicket haul usurped Hashim Amla’s patient and determined century on Day Three. Sri Lanka have a commanding lead of 139 with few overs left in the day’s play. Veteran Rangana Herath was exceptional and picked up four wickets and got regular dismissals of the South African batsmen.

Duminy and Amla started the post lunch session in the exact same manner in which they finished the previous session. Defence was the order of the day and Duminy, in particular took this approach way more seriously than the others. Duminy prodded and blocked and tried to wear the bowlers. Amla on the other hand was moving along nicely towards his century.

Just then, luck favoured the excellent Herath. A slightly over-pitched delivery caught the onrushing Duminy’s pads and debutant wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella continued to impress with a smart take and whipping off the bails. Vernon Philander also took the Duminy route and was trying to give as much as of the strike to Amla.

The South African captian had the rub of the green when he was in his nineties. A chipped shot off Herath found the hands of Kaushal Silva at point. Silva dived to his right but put it down. It should have been taken though as it came at a reasonable pace and decent height.

Perera then got his third consecutive four wicket haul off a gem of delivery. Philander was teased by the spinners quite a bit before the dismissal but this time the ball pitched on the middle stump and breached the batsman’s defence. The ball spun deliciously and crashed on to the off-stump.

Amla meanwhile brought up his first century against Sri Lanka and his 22nd overall. It was also his first in the Island Nation. It was his slowest century and was crafted with utmost caution and his archetypical monk-like demeanour.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 421 (Mahela Jayawardene 165, Niroshan Dickwella 63; Vernon Philander 2 for 52) lead South Africa 282 (Faf du Plessis 36, Hashim Amla 139*, AB de Villiers 37; Dilruwan Perera 5 for 69, Rangana Herath 4 for 71) by 139 runs.

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(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)