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JP Duminy led from front for South Africa © Getty Images (File Photo)

 

By R Vishal

Jul 17, 2014

JP Duminy‘s stoic resistance in the sweltering heat of Galle brought Sri Lanka to their knees at the stroke of Tea. Duminy was unbeaten on 72 and was given excellent support by Vernon Philander, who put a stubborn resistance against the guile and turn of Rangana Herath to put South Africa on the drivers’ seat. Morne Morkel also dropped anchor and played with utmost caution.

The Proteas lost just one wicket in the session as the Sri Lankan bowlers toiled hard for wickets. The impressive Suranga Lakmal was unlucky and Hearth’s threat was negated well by the batsmen. Duminy showed spells of attacking intent too which caught the hosts by surprise. He used his feet well and played reverse sweeps too. The only wicket of the session came through Angelo Mathews’ medium pacers. The Sri Lankan captain trapped Philander in front.

Earlier in the day, Quinton De Kock thwarted the hosts’ attack. Spinners Perera and veteran Herath were getting quite a bit a turn and the early overs were all about getting their eye in. De Kock was showing some of his One-Day International (ODI) form which has helped him get to four hundreds in six games in his career. The southpaw cut the ball at will and those boundaries soothed the Protea nerves.

Lakmal then struck by disturbing Steyn’s stumps with a straighter one. The ball went through the ‘gate’. Duminy and De Kock then kept the scoreboard ticking. They were using their feet well but it was the 22 year-old who looked promising. Under the sweltering heat and wicked turn of the Galle wicket, De Kock’s positive intent paid off and he got to his fifty.

The steel that Duminy has shown in the middle is unlikely to fade away anytime soon Sri Lanka would now be looking at the heavens to get the last two wickets. It does not look like the Proteas would throw it away.

Brief scores:

South Africa 414 for 8 (Dean Elgar 103, Faf du Plessis 80, JP Duminy 72*; Suranga Lakmal 3 for 72, Dilruwan Perera 3 for 172) vs Sri Lanka

Full Scorecard

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