South Africa collapse to massive defeat in first Test against Sri Lanka

Sherman Parsons
July 16, 2018

Sri Lanka bowled out South Africa for 126 to gain a 161-run first innings lead on day two of the opening Test in Galle on Friday.

Off-spinner Perera took 4-46 and Lakmal 3-21 as South Africa were skittled for just 126, with Karunaratne then making Sri Lanka's lead even healthier as he went for a pacy 60.

The wickets continued to tumble as Herath began to strike as well, with the next three batsmen out for 11 runs in the space of four overs.

Wessels added: "South Africa needed to make the Sri Lankan bowlers work much, much harder for their wickets".

Star South African pacer Dale Steyn on Saturday (14th July) equalled Shaun Pollock's record by becoming the joint highest wicket-taker in the Test cricket of the rainbow nation. Spin played a major role in most of those Tests, with Sri Lanka preparing tracks to suit Rangana Herath in particular. Maybe that is one reason why I picked up four wickets today. Veteran spinner Rangana Herath started Sri Lanka's dominance by sending back nightwatchman Maharaj early, and Perera soon took crucial wickets including the unsafe Hashim Amla for 15.

These kinds of disparate results are why Test cricket should do away with the toss and instead allow visiting teams to choose whether to bat or bowl first, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said.

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They were finally bowled out for 190, and along with their first-innings 287, built on opener Dimuth Karunaratne's brilliant 158*, gave their spinners more than enough to bowl at. "We played a warm-up game which was a flat wicket - it didn't spin", du Plessis said.

While the Proteas should be sharper in overall terms for the second Test, after hitting Galle so "cold", it must be a concern that several of the present batsmen run the risk of only becoming increasingly spooked by their pretty regular, low-return experiences against quality spinners ...

"We were trying not to let a batsman settle".

1 - This is the first time in Test history that Sri Lanka have taken 20 wickets in a Test for less than 200 runs.

Perhaps the next time such an excursion is made, all the Test batsmen should travel and all of them should play some competitive cricket, though that would mean CSA have to find an opposition and organise the trip when it does not clash with IPL (or any other league some of their top players may be otherwise occupied with). They survived an early shout off Herath and got to lunch at a nervy 5/0. When Sri Lanka toured in 2016-2017, both Centurion and the Wanderers were prepared to be as seamer-friendly as possible.

Hashim Amla was caught at leg slip for a duck in Perera s next over, and Temba Bavuma was caught for two by the same fielder shortly after, reducing South Africa to 24 for 3.

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