Dhaka, Bangladesh
South Africa submit to spin as SL take charge

South Africa submit to spin as SL take charge

Barring the 40-odd minutes post Lunch when Faf du Plessis counterattacked Sri Lankan spinners, and in company of Hashim Amla, put on a half century stand; it was a game which flowed only one way. From a game which hung in balance at the start of the day, ended with South Africa being almost pushed out of the competition. And, we stand to tell this narrative only two days into the Test. Such has been the misery of South Africa against spin, reports Cricbuzz. The visitors lost the plot quite early in the day, when they allowed Sri Lanka's last-wicket pair of Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya to bat on for over an hour - a period in which they stretched their partnership to 76 and Sri Lanka's total to 338, making it the first ever 300 plus total in the series. Keshav Maharaj eventually ended the stand when Rangana Herath edged a sweep to leg slip to hand the left-arm spinner his ninth wicket. Maharaj's figures of 9 for 129 is now the second best bowling effort by a South African - next only to Hugh Tayfield. The partnership not only helped deflate South Africa's morale early but also laid the tone for what was to follow. Dananjaya and Herath then came, and in a quick period of 40 minutes before Lunch struck thrice to leave the tourists tottering at 19 for 1 at Lunch. With an intent to take the challenge head on, du Plessis stepped down the wicket and attacked the spinners. Amla tried to do the same but struggled. Nonetheless, with their partnership going strong, there was a brief hope of revival, which was soon dusted aside by Dilruwan Perera. The offie first got rid of Hashim Amla, who earlier in the day - courtesy a dropped catch by Danushka Gunathilaka at short cover - had become the third South African to register 9000 Test runs. In a manner similar to his dismissals in both the innings of the first Test, he was out caught bat-pad at forward short leg. The more bizarre one, which followed soon after, was that of the South African skipper. Looking to sweep Dilruwan, he got an inside edge to the 'keeper. The on-field umpire declared him out, but baffled by the decision, du Plessis decided to take a review. Even DRS couldn't help him as the UltraEdge picked a faint brush of the ball against the bat. Thereafter, it was merely a procession. In a period of 26 balls, South Africa lost their last five wickets and were bundled out for 124, with all 10 wickets falling to spinners. In fact, Suranga Lakmal, their lone pacer, didn't bowl a single over. Dananjaya, playing his third Test, bagged his second fifer while Dilruwan finished with four wickets to his credit. Offered with a chance to ask the visitors to follow on, Sri Lankan declined it and added more misery. Dimuth Karunaratne and Gunathilaka got Sri Lanka off to another good start. This time, however, they were far more aggressive with the approach. The left-handed duo employed the sweep shot to good effect, something which their counterparts failed at when they tried. Runs came quickly and so did their respective fifties. Gunathilaka, who had come into the Test without a fifty, registered two in two innings at SSC. However, yet again, he threw his wicket away soon after reaching the landmark. Maharaj, who had accounted for the left-hander, struck again as he had Dhananjaya de Silva trapped for a duck. In the process of bagging his first wicket of the innings, he claimed his maiden 10-wicket haul in Tests. However, despite two wickets in quick succession, Karunaratne didn't allow South Africa to sniff a chance at seizing the initiative. He kept the charge going and recorded his fourth consecutive fifty in the series - a series where no South African has achieved even one. Against the run of play, Kusal Mendis was run out, which eventually proved to be the last of South Africa's successes in the day. Karunartne and Angelo Mathews helped the hosts to 151 for 3 at Stumps, and took the lead to 365. Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 338 & 151/3 (Danushka Gunathilaka 61, Dimuth Karunaartne 59*; Keshav Maharaj 2-90) lead South Africa 124 (Faf du Plessis 48, Quinton de Kock 32; Akila Dananjaya 5-52, Dilruwan Perera 4-40) by 365 runs

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