AB de Villiers smashed his 36th Test half-century © AFP
AB de Villiers smashed his 36th Test half-century © AFP


By Devarchit Varma


Jul 19, 2014


AB de Villiers smashed his 36th Test half-century as South Africa reached 206 for six at tea on the fourth day of the opening Test match against Sri Lanka at Galle on Saturday. South Africa are in complete command of the match as they have extended their lead to 369 runs in the second innings, with plenty of amount left in the Test match.


De Villiers held fort for the tourists who kept losing wickets at regular intervals, as he smashed a quickfire 51 off 58 balls to help South Africa strengthen their strong hold on the game. Sri Lanka kept attacking with their spinners but cameos by Hashim Amla (22), Quinton de Kock (37) and Faf du Plessis (37) helped South Africa add crucial runs in their tally on the fourth day.


For Sri Lanka, spinner Dilruwan Perera was the pick among the bowlers as he claimed his fourth scalp in the innings with the dismissal of de Kock. The left-handed batsman gave a simple return catch to be dismissed for 36. Before de Kock’s dismissal, the hosts’ spinner had cleaned up de Villiers, who completed his half-century to keep his side on track for a big total.  De Villiers smashed six boundaries to score 51.


Rangana Herath claimed two wickets in the innings in form of Dean Elgar and du Plessis. Sri Lanka have not used any of their frontline seamer so far in the innings, and the sharp turn that they have got on the Day Four wicket would certainly be an encouraging factor for the South African spinners.


Earlier at lunch, South Africa lost their openers Dean Elgar and Alviro Petersen in the first session on Day Four, after bowling out Sri Lanka for 292 in their opening Test match of their two-match series at Galle. South Africa were 63 for two after overs, with their second innings lead surging to 226 runs.


Sri Lanka resumed play at 283 for nine with Rangana Herath and Shaminda Eranga at the crease. They were trailing by 172 runs and it was likely that the tourists will earn a huge first-innings lead. Morne Morkel wasted no time when he had Herath caught by AB de Villiers after the two Lankan batsmen added nine runs to their overnight total. South Africa took a lead of 163 runs.


Brief scores:


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 (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, Morne Morkel 3 for 49) by 369 runs.


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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)