South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj’s excellent figures of 8 for 116 rattled Sri Lanka in the opening day of the second Test match at the SSC grounds on Friday.
The hosts, who won the first Test in Galle last week, ended the day one 277 for 9 in 86 overs after electing to bat first on a dry surface.
After being 116 for no loss, Sri Lanka lost 9 wickets for just 148 runs as Maharaj recorded the best figures by a visiting bowler in Sri Lanka, breaking Yasir Shah’s record of 7/76 in 2015.
The left arm tweaker, the only recognized spinner in the Proteas’ team changed the complexion of the game with some excellent spin bowling.
In the first session, Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunarathne and Danushka Gunathilaka accumulated 93 runs to set a solid platform. Both left-handers reached their half-centuries and recorded Sri Lanka’s first 100+ opening partnership in Tests since October 2016 and first at home after eight years.
Maharaj, broke the 116-run opening stand when he got Karunaratne caught behind with a drifting delivery down the leg side. In the very next over he scalped Gunathilaka when opener went for the slog sweep and top-edged to deep square leg, where Rabada took an impressive diving catch.
Kusal Mendis got off to a good start but found the sweep shot as his ‘Achilles Heel’ as he swept a rank-turner and top-edged to mid-wicket region, where Rabada ran a couple of meters to take another.
Late in the second session, Mathews became the ninth Sri Lanka batsman to complete 5,000 runs in Tests, when he edged Lungi Ngidi to the third man boundary. Soon after tea, Maharaj found the edge of the shoulder the former captain’s bat who departed for only 10 runs, giving a low catch to first slip.
Number three batsman Dhananjaya De Silva and Roshen Silva added an invaluable 54 runs for the fifth wicket to keep the Lankan innings on the right path before Kagiso Rabada cleaned up the latter for 22 as the home team were restricted to 223 for 5 in 70 overs.
Maharaj’s ability to land the ball at the correct line and length proved to be too hot to handle for the Lankan lower order. Wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella lasted only 9 balls before becoming Maharaj’s fifth scalp.
De Silva top-scored for Sri Lanka with a fine 60 as he stroked a few of delightful strokes, both on the front foot and back foot to hold the innings together. The marauding spinner trapped De Silva with a straighter delivery, even though the on-field decision was not out, the visitors got the decision changed thanks to the DRS.
Dilruwan Perera was the fourth Sri Lankan batsman to be dismissed attempting the sweep off Maharaj while skipper Suranga Lakmal was sent back courtesy a screamer by Aiden Markram at short-extra cover.
Akila Dhananjaya and Rangana Herath hung-in to add 13 runs in 5.1 overs late in the day as South Africa delayed taking the new ball by four overs.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn though, will probably have to wait another day to get past former teammate Shaun Pollock to become the country’s leading wicket taker in Tests. He is tied with Pollock’s 421 wickets.
338/10 & 275/5
124/10 & 290/10
Srilanka won by 199 runs
Sri Lanka’s 1st Innings
|Danushka Gunathilake||c K.Rabada b K.Maharaj||57||107|
|Dimuth Karunaratne||c Q.De Kock b K.Maharaj||53||110|
|Dananjaya de Silva||lbw by K.Maharaj||60||109|
|Kusal Mendis||c K.Rabada b K.Maharaj||21||34|
|Angelo Mathews||c F.Du Plesis b K.Maharaj||10||24|
|Roshen Silva||b K.Rabada||22||46|
|Niroshen Dickwella||c F.Du Plesis b K.Maharaj||5||9|
|Dilruwan Perera||c L.Nigidi b K.Maharaj||17||24|
|Akila Dananjaya||not out||43||91|
|Suranga Lakmal||c A.Markram b K.Maharaj||0||4|
|Rangana Herath||c Dean Elgar b Keshav Maharaj||35||68|
South Africa’s 1st Innings
|Aiden Markram||lbw by Rangana Herath||7||20|
|Dean Elgar||c Dananjaya De Silva b Akila Dhananjaya||0||4|
|Theunis de Bruyn||c Niroshan Dickwella b Akila Dhananjaya||3||8|
|Hashim Amla||c Kusal Mendis b Dilruwan Perera||19||58|
|Faf du Flessis||c Niroshan Dickwella b Dilruwan Perera||48||51|
|Temba Bavuma||c Kusal Mendis b Dilruwan Perera||11||20|
|Quinton de Kock||lbw by Akila Dhananjaya||32||31|
|KA Maharaj||c Dimuth Karunaratne b Akila Dhananjaya||2||4|
|Kagiso Rabada||c Anjelo Mathews b Dilruwan Perera||1||10|
|Dale Steyn||lbw by Akila Dhananjaya||0||2|
|Lungi Ngidi||not out||0||2|
Sri Lanka’s 2nd Innings
|MD Gunathilaka||c Dean Elgar b Keshav Maharaj||61||68|
|D. Karunaratne||c Quinton de Kock b Lungi Ngidi||85||136|
|D.De.Silva||lbw by Keshav Maharaj||0||3|
|BKG Mendis||(runout) Aiden Markram||18||27|
|A Mathews||c Faf du Flessis b Keshav Maharaj||71||147|
|R. Silva||not out||32||99|
|N. Dickwella||not out||7||7|
|Theunis de Bruyn||5||0||20||0||4.00|
South Africa’s 2nd Innings
|Dean Elgar||lbw by D.Perera||37||80|
|Aiden Markram||lbw by R.Herath||14||24|
|Theunis de Bruyn||b R.Herath||101||232|
|Hashim Amla||b R.Herath||6||18|
|Faf du Flessis||c Anjelo Mathews b A.Dhananjaya||7||13|
|KA Maharaj||lbw by A.Dhananjaya||0||1|
|Temba Bavuma||c N.Dickwella b R. Herath||63||98|
|Quinton de Kock||lbw by R.Herath||8||12|
|Kagiso Rabada||c A.Mathews b D.Perera||18||37|
|Dale Steyn||c D.Gunathilake b R.Herath||6||6|
|Lungi Ngidi||not out||4||4|
|Dananjaya de Silva||2||0||5||0||2.50|