Sri Lanka gains upper hand against South Africa

Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Thilan becomes first Lankan to score century in South Africa as Sri Lanka pile up 335; Welagedara, Herath share nine wickets to bundle out South Africa to 168

Chanaka Welegedara and Rangana Herath shared nine wickets as Sri Lanka took a stranglehold on proceedings at stumps on the second day of the second Sunfoil test against South Africa at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.

Thilan Samaraweera celebrates scoring a century during the second day of their second cricket test match against South Africa in Durban December 27, 2011 – ReutersLeft-arm seamer Welegedara grabbed career-best figures of five for 52 while left-arm spinner Herath picked up four for 49 as the hosts were bundled out for 168 in their first innings, South Africa’s lowest test score against Sri Lanka beating the 169 all out they scored in Colombo in 2006. Sri Lanka then reached seven for one in their second innings before bad light halted play giving the tourists a lead of 177.

South Africa were in early trouble in their innings as they collapsed to 27 for three with Jacques Rudolph (7), Graeme Smith (15) and Jacques Kallis (0) all perishing in quick succession before Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers (25) rescued the innings a touch with a fourth-wicket partnership of 76.

The elegant Amla was in no mood to dig in and he rushed to his 20th test half-century off just 69 balls. He struck 10 fours during his knock with the majority of his runs coming through the off side as he played a number of scorching drives off the back and front foot.

Amla eventually scored 54 but the hosts went into freefall shortly after tea as first De Villiers, who was caught at second slip and then Amla, who was caught by keeper Dinesh Chandimal, succumbed to the disciplined Welegedara.

De Villiers’ dismissal heralded a collapse as the Proteas lost five wickets for 16 runs. Mark Boucher (3), Ashwell Prince (11) and Morne Morkel (0) all departing in an almost unseemly hurry. South Africa had slipped to 119 for eight and were in real danger of failing to avoid the follow-on mark of 138 but some lusty hitting from Dale Steyn (29 not out) and Imran Tahir (11) helped the hosts avoid that embarrassment before Tahir was stumped of a Herath delivery.

Marchant de Lange (9) was the last man out when he edged a Welegedara delivery through to keeper Chandimal to give the bowler his second five-wicket haul in tests.

South Africa were able to take some cheer from the day as, in fading light, Steyn had Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) caught behind. Debutant De Lange had enjoyed a fine start to the day when he ripped through Sri Lanka’s tail to end with seven for 81 off 23.2 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 338 in their first innings, 35 minutes before lunch, thanks to a wonderful 102 off 269 balls with 11 fours from Thilan Samaraweera.

The 21-year-old De Lange’s figures were the best this year by a debutant and the third best by a South African on debut with the best being Lance Klusener’s eight for 64 in Calcutta in the 1996/97 season. Paceman De Lange’s achievement was matched by the 35-year-old Samaraweera who became only the second Sri Lankan to score a test century in South Africa after Hashan Tillakaratne.

Samaraweera brought up his 13th test ton off 265 balls and showed wonderful application at the crease, albeit on a pitch which offered very few demons for the batsmen.

Sri Lanka began the day on 289 for seven and they took the score to 335 thanks to a 46-run eighth-wicket stand between Samaraweera and Herath (30).

Herath mixed caution with aggression before his breezy knock was ended when he became De Lange’s fifth wicket when the left-handed batsman skied an attempted pull shot to be caught by keeper Boucher.

Herath’s dismissal signalled the beginning of the end for Sri Lanka as they lost their last three wickets for the addition of just three runs.

 Welegedara (2) found himself in awful trouble against a De Lange short ball to offer up a simple catch to Amla at short leg before Samaraweera, who was running out of partners, carved a De Lange delivery to Prince at deep cover. (

Chanaka Welegedara (3rd L) celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (3rd R) during the second day of their second cricket test match in Durban December 27, 2011. REUTERS/