Dimuth Karunaratne played a resolute knock of 24 and remained unbeaten at tea © Getty Images
Dimuth Karunaratne played a resolute knock of 24 and remained unbeaten at tea © Getty Images

Sri Lanka threw away a steady start to lose two wickets in the second session of Day Two in the second Test that is being played at Cape Town. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, who opened the batting for the visitors after lunch, did well to see through the initial spell of Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott. However, Silva perished when it looked he had his eyes set in. Kusal Mendis, the man who replaced him, had a short stay in the middle as well, as he too got dismissed at the stroke of tea. Karunaratne (24*) and Dhananjaya de Silva (0*) then guided Sri Lanka to tea with score reading 56 for 2.

Sri Lanka began their reply on a cautious note, with both Karunaratne and Silva playing with a defensive mindset. Philander and Abbott, who opened the attack, kept bowling tight lines and made run-scoring for the Lankan duo all the more difficult. The pacers used the new ball to good effect, varying their lengths and constantly testing the two batsmen outside the off stump. Although they did not get as much support from the pitch as they would have expected, Philander and Abbott still bowled in the right areas. Both Karunaratne and Silva however did well to see through the initial difficult phase.

Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test at Cape Town

There was not much action in the session barring a run-out scare, when Temba Bavuma almost pulled off a Perth-like run-out. He dived full stretch and hit the stumps when the Lankan openers tried to steal a quick single. However, this time around, the batsman made his ground. Kagiso Rabada was introduced into the attack in the ninth over, which saw a couple of boundaries from the two players, hinting that the runs were finally coming.

Sri Lanka took drinks without losing a wicket but immediately after that, Silva was removed by Rabada. The bowler banged one short and the extra bounce did it. Silva was caught in the crease with little room to execute the shot. He ended up dragging the ball on to the stumps. He thus wasted away another good start. Mendis, the new No. 3, replaced him and together with Karunaratne, almost took Sri Lanka to tea without any further damage. When Keshav Maharaj was introduced, Mendis smacked him for the first six of the series. But soon after, he perished for 11 trying an encore of the same. De Silva then came out and remained unbeaten at tea along with Karunaratne.

Earlier, South Africa added 95 runs and lost the remaining 4 wickets in the first session on the second day, thus ending their first innings on 392. Starting the day on 297 for 6, the unbeaten overnight batsman Quinton de Kock got to the third Test ton of his career. His attacking hundred came in just over 120 balls, at a strike rate of touch above 80. It was his knock which helped South Africa get to an above-par total after Dean Elgar had set up a solid foundation with his sixth Test hundred on Day One. Barring these two batsmen, the Protea players struggled on a wicket which had at least twice more grass than the previous Test. In addition, the cloud cover on Day One prompted Angelo Mathews to field first.

Apart from the two centurions, Hashim Amla, skipper Faf du Plessis and the lower-order chipped in with crucial runs as South Africa reached near 400. In South Africa’s first innings, a few milestones were reached as de Kock completed his 1,000 Test runs, Rangana Herath surpassed Chaminda Vaas’ 355 wickets to become Sri Lanka’s second highest wicket-taker in Tests, Lahiru Kumara registered his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests as he finished with the figures of 6 for 122 and Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis, who kept wickets for Lanka, took seven catches between them, thus making it the most behind the stumps in an innings for Sri Lanka.

Brief Scores: South Africa 392 (Dean Elgar 129, Quinton de Kock 101; Lahiru Kumara 6 for 122) vs Sri Lanka (Dimuth Karunaratne 24*, Kaushal Silva 11, Kusal Mendis 11; Keshav Maharaj 1 for 7, Kagiso Rabada 1 for 23.)