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South Africa recover from early jolts to reach 98/3 against Sri Lanka at stumps on Day 2

Suranga Lakmal (L) celebrates the dismissal of Faf du Plessis in the final session of Day 2 of the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa © AFP
Suranga Lakmal (left) celebrates the dismissal of Faf du Plessis during the final session of Day 2 of the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa © AFP

By Amit Banerjee

Jul 25, 2014

South Africa finished at 98 for three at the end of Day Two of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo. The Proteas still trail Sri Lanka by 323 runs. It would be interesting to see how the South African batsmen will bat on Day Three on a track that is offering slow turn.

The visitors had a forgettable start, as the openers, Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar were removed early on by the Sri Lankan spinners with just 13 runs on the board. The move to introduce spinners in the second over itself was seen as a a good one, as the flat SSC pitch was beginning to turn. Four of the five bowlers used in the day were spinners, with medium-pacer, Suranga Lakmal being the exception.

It was the duo of Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla who did much of the recovery work for the South African team for the rest of the day. The pair added 58 runs from 179 balls for the third wicket, frustrating the Sri Lankan bowlers in the process. It was Suranga Lakmal’s reintroduction to the attack which led to the dismissal of du Plessis, who edged the ball to the keeper, and he collected it inches from the ground with a fabulous one-handed dive.  The next man to come in was AB de Villiers, who stayed at the crease till the end of day’s play. Amla and De Villiers now have the task of thwarting the Lankan spinners on Day Three  in order to swing things in their favour.

Earlier, Sri Lanka resumed from their overnight score of 305 for five, with Mahela Jayawardene and debutante Niroshan Dickwella looking set at the crease. The two soon began to toy with the South African attack, with Dickwella reaching his half-century from 69 balls. The two hit half a dozen  fours, as they added 80 runs on the board, before Jayawardene departed, whose dive wasn’t enough to save from the well-directed throw from Petersen and he was run out.

The hosts went into lunch with a score of 395 for the loss of six wickets and were looking set to post a total of around 500. South Africa, however, were clinical in the second session, with the dismissals flowing regularly and the Sri Lankan batsmen never getting a chance to settle. For the visitors, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn emerged the pick of the bowlers by picking two wickets each, conceding 52 and 69 runs, respectively.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 421 (Mahela Jayawardene 165, Niroshan Dickwella 63; Vernon Philander 2 for 52)  lead South Africa 98 for 3 (Faf du Plessis 36, Hashim Amla 46*; Suranga Lakmal 1 for 13) by 323 runs.

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(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)

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