South Africa on top after Sri Lanka crumble

South Africa’s bowlers were clinical in the opening session of Day 2 to help their side pick up a handy 68-run lead after bowling Sri Lanka out for 154 in Port Elizabeth. In reply, South Africa went to Lunch on 10 for 1, leading by 78, with Dean Elgar once again falling to Vishwa Fernando, who had provided Sri Lanka with the early break in the first innings too.

Sri Lanka were already one player short going into the second day’s play after Lasith Embuldeniya was ruled out of the remainder of the Test due to a surgery on his thumb for an injury he picked up on the opening day, so they technically needed just six wickets after having reduced the opposition to 60 for 3 before stumps yesterday. It didn’t take them long to make inroads as Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier struck early on Friday (February 22).

Although Sri Lanka’s batsmen tried to score as many runs as quickly as possible to reduce the deficit, the loss of regular wickets hurt them. South Africa’s bowlers on the other hand were rewarded for persistence with the line outside off, just as was seen yesterday in the final session. They had assistance from the track as well and made the most of it.

Wiaan Mulder picked up his maiden Test wicket when he got Dhananjaya de Silva for 19, eking out an edge off the batsman. Keshav Maharaj then had Suranga Lakmal caught well inside his crease and even a review couldn’t save him after three reds. Niroshan Dickwella cracked a quickfire 36-ball 42, but they were well short of South Africa’s first innings total of 222.

Brief scores: South Africa 222 & 10/1 (Vishwa Fernando 1-3) lead Sri Lanka 154/9 (Niroshan Dickwella 42; Kagiso Rabada 4-38) by 78 runs.

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