Kumar Sangakkara © AFP (File Photo)

By R Vishal

Jul 27, 2014

Bad light forced an early Tea break at the SSC with Sri Lanka having their fingers on the remote control and South African bowlers disappointing and toiling throughout the day. Apart from the excellent Morne Morkel, who picked up his 200th Test wicket, aggressive batting from the Sri Lankans meant that runs were leaking in large chunks. Kumar Sangakkara was the pick of the batsmen with yet another innings of silk and authority from the veteran southpaw.

It was Upul Tharanga who set the tone for the Lankans. The very first ball of the day by Vernon Philander was smashed down the ground for a boundary. With a run rate of more than four an over, wickets too fell at regular intervals. Morkel’s acute understanding of the slow track along with with his pace and bounce was timely for the hosts. Dale Steyn was impressive too while Philander was unlucky.

It was regular spinner Imran Tahir who was treated with utter disdain on a wicket that favoured spin bowling. Even part-timers JP Duminy and Dean Elgar were hammered to all parts by Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews. The lead kept accumulating past 300 and the body language of the South Africans was downbeat. Rains gods might just play spoilsport in this game with a second rain delay forcing play off.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 421 (Mahela Jayawardene 165, Niroshan Dickwella 63; Vernon Philander 2 for 52) & 203 for 6 (Upul Tharanga 30, Kumar Sangakkara 72, Angelo Mathews 48*; Morne Morkel 3 for 38, Dale Steyn 49) 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 342 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)