Thu, 23 May 2019

Sri Lanka's fast bowlers have South Africa on the mat

ESPNCricInfo
13 Feb 2019, 20:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Lunch South Africa 89 for 4 (Bavuma 38*, Vishwa Fernando 2-31) v Sri Lanka

An inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling attack made a bold start to the first Test at Kingsmead. After electing to bowl, they reduced South Africa to 17 for 3 before Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis repaired some of the damage with a 72-run stand. Du Plessis fell on the stroke of lunch to tip the advantage back Sri Lanka's way. South Africa went into lunch at 89 for 4.

Vishwa Fernando, playing in his fourth Test, removed both South African openers inside the first 10 overs of the day, and might have had a third early strike were it not for what appeared to be a DRS timing error from Umpire Aleem Dar.

With his fourth ball of the day, Fernando had Dean Elgar caught behind, and with his sixth he appeared to have trapped Hashim Amla lbw. But Dar turned down the appeal, and then refused to send Sri Lanka's DRS request upstairs on the basis that they had taken too long to ask for it.

Amla couldn't make the second chance count, however, and five overs later he was late in his decision to leave an outswinging delivery from Suranga Lakmal, running a catch to Kusal Mendis at second slip off the face of the bat. The umpiring once again courted controversy as Umpire Richard Kettleborough referred the catch, giving a 'not out' soft signal that was overturned by TV Umpire Ian Gould.

When Fernando bowled Aiden Markram in the next over with a delivery that curved in through the air to beat the inside edge and rattle the stumps, South Africa were in serious strife. Fernando troubled both du Plessis and Bavuma's outside edges in a probing spell, while Lakmal kept things very tight in a new-ball spell that read 7-3-6-1, but after drinks the batsmen started to find their groove.

Kasun Rajitha was the quickest bowler of the morning, regularly getting the ball through at more than 140kph, but he struggled a little for consistency and both batsmen took advantage of anything loose. They collected boundaries on either side of the wicket as Rajitha's line strayed, and du Plessis brought up the fifty stand with a slashed square drive in his fourth over.

Dimuth Karunaratne - captaining for the first time in a Test - brought himself on to bowl some slow medium pace. While he found appreciable movement, occasionally even beating the outside edge, there was little to trouble the batsmen.

Lasith Embuldeniya, the left-arm spinner on debut, exhibited a little more menace, but was given only a solitary over before lunch. His very first delivery dipped, gripped and turned to beat both du Plessis' outside edge and the off stump, and though the South African captain stepped down the track to lift him over mid on in the same over, there was enough to suggest that Embuldeniya will have an important role to play as the Test match progresses.

Karunaratne tossed the ball to Rajitha for the final over before the interval, and with his second ball he strangled du Plessis down the leg side. It was the sort of delivery that both du Plessis and Bavuma had hit for four earlier in the session, but this time du Plessis could only manage a faint touch on the ball as it shot down the leg side and into Niroshan Dickwella's gloves. Umpire Kettleborough turned the appeal down, but Karunaratne called immediately for the review and replays showed a thin edge. The late strike broke what had quickly turned into a threatening stand and put Sri Lanka back on top.

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