Sri-Lankan-batsman-Kumar-Sangakkara-plays-a-shot-during-the-fourth-day-of-the-ope
Kumar Sangakkara © AFP

By R Vishal

Jul 27, 2014

Sri Lanka finished the first session with a commanding lead of 247 despite losing three wickets in the first session of Day four. Upul Tharanga gave Sri Lanka a solid start before talisman Kumar Sangakkara came on held fort at the crease. The pitch had plenty in it for the South African bowlers. On another day, they would have been happy with the three wickets but Sri Lanka are looking set to post an improbable target for the visitors. The runs came at four an over as the batsmen found the vacant areas to slam boundaries at regular intervals.

The day started with Tharanga in full cry and the southpaw played some crisp strokes down the ground in the first hour of the day’s play to frustrate the South Africans. Dale Steyn then ended Tharanga’s cameo by inducing an edge of the toe end of his bat. Sangakkara also wasted no time in getting off the blocks and Kaushal Silva was playing one of his typical gutsy innings, lending good support to his senior partner. Silva smashed Morne Morkel for a couple of boundaries, but the lanky pacer had his revenge in the next over. Silva was outfoxed by a slow delivery and Vernon Philander took a smart catch at gully, diving forward and latching on to the looping ball.

The emperor of the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Mahela Jayawardene departed soon albeit controversially. Trying a reverse sweep off Imran Tahir, the ball clipped the top part of Jayawardene’s glove and Dean Elgar made a desperate dive to take the catch, just a feet away from the batsman. After deliberating for long, Jayawardene was given his marching orders by the third umpire after the veteran batsman challenged Nigel Llong’s call. Jayawardene’s had a duck at the SSC but still got a standing ovation when he walked back to the pavilion. Sangakkara and skipper Angelo Mathews settled in and looked comfortable at the stroke of Lunch.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 421 (Mahela Jayawardene 165, Niroshan Dickwella 63; Vernon Philander 2 for 52) & 108 for 3 (Upul Tharanga 30, Kumar Sangakkara 38*;Morne Morkel 1 for 15) 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 247 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)