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South African batsmen find themselves at their wit's end against Sri Lankan spinners

Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne
Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne (L) plays a shot next to South Africa's Quinton de Kock
©REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

South African batsmen find themselves at their wit's end against Sri Lankan spinners

The South African second innings ended as soon as it began as spinners Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath wreaked havoc with 6 and 3 wickets respectively.

Sri Lanka 287 (Dimuth Karunaratne 158*; Kagiso Rabada 4-50) and 190 (Dimuth Karunaratne 60; Keshav Maharaj 4-58) win by 278 runs

South Africa 126 (Faf du Plessis 49; Dilruwan Perera 4-46) and 73 (Vernon Philander 22*; Dilruwan Perera 6-32)


It was already all a bit too gloomy for South Africa going into Day 3 of the first Test. With useful contributions from Angelo Mathews (35) and Skipper Suranga Lakmal (33), Sri Lanka added a few more runs to the lead before they were folded up for 190.

Keshav Maharaj was a much improved bowler in the second innings and picked up 4 wickets while Kagiso Rabada doubled up on his first innings performance, picking up 3 wickets.

Once Dean Elgar (4) was dismissed on the last ball of sixth over, there was no stopping the Lankan bowlers. As one South African wicket toppled after the other, opener Aiden Markram (19) tried to hold his end but that could last for only 46 deliveries.

Although Vernon Philander (22) remained unbeaten for 22, he did not get support from any other batsman as the entire team folded for a meager 73-run total within a session. While Bangladesh and Afghanistan have held this embarrassing record, it was not expected of the South African batsman to give up without fighting.

A lot of good things were expected of South Africa on the Sri Lankan tour. However, the first Test has clearly revealed that they are either not well prepared or possibly don't have the application to last long in turning sub-continental conditions.

The next Test is to be played at the SSC in Colombo and the questions asked of the South African batsman will be similar to Galle. What remains to be seen is that whether there would be any difference in their answers or not.

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