Kumar Sangakkara remained unbeaten on 58 © AFP (File photo)
By Devarchit Varma
Jul 19, 2014
Kumar Sangakkara‘s fluent half-century and his unbeaten 96-run stand for the second wicket with Kausal Silva helped Sri Lanka bounce back from an early blow to post 110 for one at stumps on Day 4. South Africa had declared their second innings at 206 for six after tea, setting a 370-run target against Sri Lanka in their ongoing first Test at Galle.
Sangakkara faced 89 deliveries and cracked seven boundaries and a six sixes to reach 57 not out. On the other hand, Silva, who got out on a reckless stroke in the first innings that sparked a middle-order collapse, batted well for his 37 not out which came from 50 balls. He smashed five boundaries during his stay at the crease.
Dale Steyn claimed his sixth wicket in the match when he had Upul Tharanga caught by Quinton de Kock for 14. Sangakkara then joined forces with Silva to bail the hosts out of trouble. The left-handed batsman announced his arrival at the crease with two boundaries each off Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir when the latter was introduced into the attack.
The pitch at Galle supported spinners throughout the day, as Sri Lanka did not use any of their fast bowlers in South Africa’s second innings. Dilruwan Perera claimed four wickets and Rangana Herath bagged two as South Africa reached 206 for six and declared their innings in the tea break.
For South Africa, few batsmen got the starts but failed to convert into big scores. Only AB de Villiers could make it big — smashing six fours to score a quickfire 51 off 58 balls. Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen made useful contributions as South Africa made most of the opportunity of setting a huge target after earning a strong lead.
South Africa began the day with Sri Lanka struggling at 283 for nine. Morne Morkel claimed the last man, Rangana Herath as AB de Villiers took a superb catch in the slips. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 292, conceding a 163-run lead in the first innings.
In reply, South Africa lost their opener Dean Elgar early with 33 runs on board. The left-handed batsman went for his shot despite the ball turning in sharp, and Dinesh Chandimal took a sharp catch off Perera to make the first breakthrough. Eight overs later, Alviro Petersen walked back to the pavilion when Herath bagged his first wicket, caught behind by the wicketkeeper for 32.
Hashim Amla started off well, hitting a couple of boundaries but a mistimed stroke off Perera ended his stay at the crease. He scored 22 off 24 balls. Du Plessis, who was watchful during the start of his innings, looked determined to spend time at the crease but was undone by Herath’s spin. The ball spun away after pitching on leg and hit the off-stump.
De Villiers batted like a man on a mission, sometimes stepping out of the crease to the fast bowlers and playing Twenty20 strokes. He was ably supported by de Kock, who too played a brisk innings to score 36 off 40 balls with the help of four boundaries.
South Africa 455 for 9 decl. (Dean Elgar 103, Faf du Plessis 80, JP Duminy 100*; Dilruwan Perera 4 for 162, Suranga Lakmal 3 for 75) & 206 for 6 decl. (AB de Villiers 51; Dilruwan Perera 4 for 79, Rangana Herath 2 for 84) lead Sri Lanka 292 (Upul Tharanga 83, Lahiru Thirimanne 38, Angelo Mathews 89; Dale Steyn 5 for 54) & 110 for 1 (Kausal Silva 37*, Kumar Sangakkara 58*; Dale Steyn 1 for 18) by 260 runs.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)