Sri Lanka inch closer to victory on day four as Amla departs

Sri Lanka need four wickets to win the second Test against South Africa Getty Images

Durban: Dec 29, 2011

Sri Lanka moved within sight of an historic win as South Africa lost five wickets between lunch and tea on the fourth day of the second Test at Kingsmead.

Set 450 to win, South Africa was 6-136 at tea, a distant 314 runs short of the target.

South Africa’s problems started when fast bowler Dilhara Fernando dismissed captain Graeme Smith for 26, surprising him with a ball that lifted sharply for him to be caught at first slip off the shoulder of his bat.

Hashim Amla and Jacques Rudolph stabilised the innings with a second wicket stand of 51 but the match swung dramatically in Sri Lanka’s favour in the first over after lunch when Rudolph fell to a spectacular diving catch at second slip by Mahela Jayawardene off Thisara Perera.

Jacques Kallis completed his first ‘pair’ in 149 Tests when he was caught at short leg off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath when he attempted a sweep, the ball skidding off a top edge onto his helmet and then up in the air to present Tharanga Paranavitana with an easy catch.

Sri Lanka’s chances of winning a Test in South Africa for the first time – and achieving its first Test win of the year – soared when Amla, after making a fluent 51, drove Herath to Chanaka Welegedera at mid-on and set off for a suicidal run. Batting partner Ashwell Prince did not respond and Amla was given out when both batsmen found themselves at one end when the wicket was broken.

The out-of-form Prince fell to another lifting delivery from Fernando, caught at first slip, and a miserable afternoon for the hosts was completed when Herath trapped Mark Boucher leg before wicket, leaving A.B. de Villiers, on 17, as the last recognised batsman.

Sri Lanka was all out for 279 in their second innings earlier in the day, losing their last three wickets for 23 runs. Two of the wickets fell to fast bowler Dale Steyn, who took 5-73. It was his 17th five-wicket haul in Tests.

South Africa leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test at Centurion by an innings and 81 runs.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 338 and 279 (Kumar Sangakkara 108, Dinesh Chandimal 54; Dale Steyn 5 for 73, Morne Morkel 2 for 46) lead South Africa 168 & 136 for 6 (Hashim Amla 51, Graeme Smith 26; Dilhara Fernando 2 for 15) by 314 runs

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