Sri Lanka fight back against South Africa after early blows on a turner

Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne hit 158*
©Reuters
 

While Sri Lanka decided to go in with three spinners considering a dry pitch that had spin to offer from the very first day, South Africa too were ready to do things differently than the convention as they went in with two spinners.

Sri Lanka 287 (Dimuth Karunaratne 158*; Kagiso Rabada 4-50) 

South Africa 4-1 (Rangana Herath 1-1) 

Sri Lanka lead South Africa by 283 runs

While Sri Lanka decided to go in with three spinners considering a dry pitch that had spin to offer from the very first day, South Africa too were ready to do things differently than the convention as they went in with two spinners.

Sri Lanka opted to bat after winning the toss. The start for them was quite a decent one as Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne added 44 runs for the opening stand. However, after the first inroad, Kagiso Rabada tasted blood and ran through Sri Lanka's middle order, picking up four wickets.

Veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews (1) and flamboyant keeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella (18) failed to make an impact. Although Tabraiz Shamsi (25.4-91-3) did his best to trouble the Lankan batsmen, opener Dimuth Karunaratne carried his bat and remained unbeaten on 158.

This effort helped Sri Lanka to move to a 287-run total which is not that bad given a turning track.

What brought matters further in Sri Lanka's favour was that South Africa lost opener Aiden Markram overnight. The Proteas had just four overs to face in which Rangana Herath showed his class by dismissing Markram for a duck.

Keshav Maharaj then came out to bat as a night watchman just before close of play. South Africa trail by 283 runs. The course of the match would now depend on how the South African batsmen handle the Sri Lankan spinners on a rank turner.

©Cricket World 2018