Temba Bavuma Theunis de Bruyn Rangana Herath Sri Lanka South Africa 2018
Theunis de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma added 123 for the sixth wicket © AFP

South Africa had almost seen the first session off against Sri Lanka in the second Test, at SSC, Colombo, not losing a wicket till ten minutes before lunch. Then Rangana Herath, who had been probing outside off throughout the morning but failing to find sufficient turn, finally found the edge and went to Niroshan Dickwella. Temba Bavuma finally departed for 63, but not before he had helped Theunis de Bruyn (85*) add 123 for the fifth wicket.

With Dilruwan Perera bowling the penultimate over quickly, there was time for Herath to sneak in another over quickly. The fifth ball eluded Quinton de Kock’s edge and hit him on the pads. De Kock reviewed, but replays revealed that the ball would have brushed leg-stump.

Bavuma and de Bruyn applied themselves brilliantly in the first session. De Bruyn made excellent use of his height, smothering the spin of Herath and co. with his long stride. The diminutive Bavuma’s footwork was impeccable: he rarely misjudged one, playing or leaving with confidence. Both men ran their singles hard, and put the ball away whenever Sri Lanka bowled anything loose.

The partnership had frustrated Sri Lanka since last evening — to the extent that Lakmal had to bring himself on for the first time in the Test, the first time Sri Lanka tried out pace in three innings. Lakmal also used the off-breaks of Akila Dananjaya and the now-suspended Danushka Gunathilaka, but to no avail.

The shot of the morning came from Bavuma. Herath had a square-leg and fine-leg waiting for him, but Bavuma middled it with conviction, bisecting both men. De Bruyn, while not as elegant, middled everything nevertheless, topping his innings with a brutally pulled four off captain Suranga Lakmal.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 338 (Danushka Gunathilaka 57, Dimuth Karunaratne 53, Dhananjaya de Silva 60; Keshav Maharaj 9 for 129) and 275 for 5 decl. (Danushka Gunathilaka 61, Dimuth Karunaratne 85, Angelo Mathews 71; Keshav Maharaj 3 for 154) lead South Africa 124 (Faf du Plessis 48; Dilruwan Perera 4 for 40, Akila Dananjaya 5 for 52) and 246 for 7 (Theunis de Bruyn 85*, Temba Bavuma 63; Rangana Herath 4 for 75) by 243 runs.