Spinners put Sri Lanka in command | Daily News
Proteas spun out for lowest total - 126:

Spinners put Sri Lanka in command

Temba Bavuma is bowled by Lakshan Sandakan for 17 attempting a sweep.
Temba Bavuma is bowled by Lakshan Sandakan for 17 attempting a sweep.

GALLE, Friday: South Africa’s technique to survive against spin in the subcontinent was exposed to the hilt when they succumbed to their lowest total against Sri Lanka being bowled out for 126 in their first innings on the second day of the first Test played at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

Sri Lanka with a handy first innings lead of 161 extended it to 272 by the close finishing on 111-4 with Angelo Mathews (14) and Roshen Silva (10) at the wickets. Sri Lanka scored 287 in the first innings. Dimuth Karunaratne followed his first innings unbeaten innings of 158 with another superb effort scoring 60 off 80 balls (7 fours) and figuring in an opening partnership of 51 with Danushka Gunathilaka who was out for 17 providing left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj the first of three wickets he captured in the Lankan second innings.

Maharaj who went wicketless found appreciable turn on the second day pitch to end with figures of three for 37 off 16 overs.

What his success meant to his team was how the Galle pitch was behaving and how difficult a task the batsmen will face in surviving on it when their turn comes to bat in the second innings.

The Proteas were all at sea against the three-pronged Sri Lanka spin attack headed by veteran spinner Rangana Herath and comprising Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. These three bowlers sent down 50 of the 54.3 overs during the South African innings.

The remaining 4.3 overs were bowled by acting skipper and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal who snapped up three late wickets including that of his vis-a-vis Faf du Plessis who top scored with 49 off 88 balls (5 fours) to finish with 3 for 21.

The morning session however was dominated by the Lankan spin trio as they made early inroads into the strong South African batting.

What caused the South Africans downfall was their batsmen’s poor technique against spin than what the pitch had to offer.

Except for the odd ball that tended to keep low there were no demons on the pitch for South Africa to be dismissed for such a low score. It was their lowest ever total against Sri Lanka the previous one being 168 in Durban in 2011.

Herath started the South African collapse by sending back nightwatchman Maharaj trapping him lbw for 3 off the third over of the day.

From there onwards it was a procession of batsmen getting out as Perera and Sandakan also got into the act. South Africa collapsed to 51-6 and looked in danger of being bowled out for less than 100.

But du Plessis found some support from Vernon Philander who hung around for 95 minutes to help his captain raise the total by 64 in a seventh wicket stand before falling lbw to Perera for 18.

At the same score 115 Du Plessis’s gallant innings was ended by Lakmal who had put himself on to bowl when the partnership was beginning to flourish.

He not only sent back Du Plessis but cleaned up the tail by dismissing Rabada and Steyn.

The three Lankan spinners complimented each other with Herath finishing with 2 for 39, Perera 4 for 46 and Sandakan 1 for 18.

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