Sri Lanka 289-7 (Samaraweera 86no) v South Africa
Second Test, Durban, day one
South Africa ended the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka with a slight advantage thanks to a haul of four for 60 from debutant Machant de Lange.
The day began poorly for South African captain Graeme Smith when he lost the toss on an unusually placid looking Kingsmead pitch, and his side looked to be staring at a long day in the field as the Sri Lankan opening pair of Tharanga Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan survived the opening salvos from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
However, the introduction of de Lange changed all of that as he struck in consecutive overs. With an action and approach to the crease similar to that of Morne Morkel, he first had Paranavitana driving loosely outside off-stump to give him his maiden wicket, before following up with the crucial wicket of Kumar Sangakkara for a duck in his very next over. The wicket of Sangakkara will have been particularly pleasing for the 21 year-old as, not only did he remove the visitors’ best batsman, but he did so with a delivery that bounced and seamed from a challenging off-stump line.
When Imran Tahir followed this up by chipping in with the wicket of Dilshan, caught in the deep off a low full toss for 47, it appeared as though Sri Lanka might implode; but Mahela Jayawardene (31) and Thilan Samaraweera batted intelligently either side of lunch to share 33 for the fourth wicket, before Jayawardene was cleaned up by the much-improved Morkel.
Angelo Mathews then joined Samaraweera and reached 30, before he too perished to de Lange, also off a low full toss, to make it 162 for five and become the third Sri Lankan batsman to throw away a good start to his innings.
With the visitors tottering at this stage, it was left to another debutant, this time the feisty Dinesh Chandimal, to step up to the plate for his team. In conjunction with the stodgy and determined Samaraweera, the 22 year-old – in the side in place of the discarded Kaushal Silva - put on 111 for the sixth wicket and made a sprightly 58 from 86 balls before falling to Morkel with the second new ball.
This left Thisara Perera almost nine overs to survive before the close, but he could manage only eight, after falling victim to a bouncer barrage from the three South African quicks; finally being snaffled at backward short leg off de Lange to the final ball of the day for 12.
This left Samaraweera unbeaten on 86 overnight and de Lange one wicket away from a five-fer on debut, as Sri Lanka closed an entertaining first day on 289 for seven.
© Cricket World 2011