Kyle Simmonds again played a key role to give South Africa Emerging a shot of victory against Sri Lanka Emerging after three days of action in the first of two four-day matches between the two sides in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
After picking up four wickets with the ball in the visitors’ first innings, the all-rounder struck a quick-fire, and important, 50 off 44 balls (5 fours, 2 sixes) to help the hosts set a winning target of 331.
But an unbeaten 80 (122 balls, 11 fours) by Minod Bhanuka had eaten a substantial amount into those runs as the Asian side closed on 145 for one at Senwes Park – still needing a further 186.
It was a good comeback considering what transpired in the first innings of the game where the South Africans amassed 382 and the bowled out their counterparts for 241 early on day three when Nishan Peiris completed his own half-century and ended not out on 52 (56 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes).
Nandre Burger picked up the final wicket to finish with three for 58, with Simmonds finishing with four for 88.
The home side endured a poor second innings after slumping to 29 for four and then 86 for seven.
It took a fighting 65-run eighth-wicket stand between Simmonds and Marco Jansen (49 off 44 balls) to lift the mood and the overall total, before they were dismissed in 39.4 overs.
Sinethemba Qeshile also chipped in with 31, but the second innings belonged to one man – Sri Lanka’s two-Test spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who finished with five for 74. Asitha Fernando, who has a one-day international cap under his belt supported him well with three for 47.
Bhanuka and Hasitha Boyagoda (33) then put on 74 for the opening wicket as the away side were off to a flier.
Simmonds (1/56) was again the man to strike, breaking the stand when he removed the latter, before Pathum Nissanka (25 not out) picked up the baton in a 71-run stand that helped frustrate SA and take the visitors to a strong close.