Sri Lanka vs South Africa: Faf du Plessis and Co falter against spinners as hosts inch closer to series sweep

Sri Lankan spinners proved to be a tough task for South Africa, with South Africa facing a mammoth task ahead as they attempt to overcome a lead of 351 runs with only five wickets remaining.

Reuters, July 22, 2018

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s formidable battery of tireless spinners bowled them to within five wickets of a 2-0 series sweep over South Africa as the tourists continued to struggle against the turning ball in the second and final test on Sunday.

Faf du Plessis was caught out by Angelo Matthews after a tricky deliver from Akila Dananjaya. AP

Faf du Plessis was caught out by Angelo Matthews after a tricky deliver from Akila Dananjaya. AP

Chasing an improbable target of 490 to level the series, the tourists finished day three on 139-5, their highest total in the spin-dominated series, at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground. At day's end, Theunis de Bruyn was batting after a gallant 45, showing the kind of application and positivity that were lacking in his colleagues while Temba Bavuma was on 14 at the other end.

Sri Lanka resumed day three on 151 for three, with an overall lead of 365 runs against a South African side who have yet to score 150 in the series, and decided to allow Angelo Mathews to bat himself into form.

The other overnight batsman Dimuth Karunaratne continued his strong run of form to score 85, his fourth 50-plus knock in as many innings, before falling to Lungi Ngidi. Mathews made 71 before being dismissed by South Africa’s left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj who finished with a 12-wicket match haul.

Sri Lanka captain Suranga Lakmal soon declared on 275 for five, before unleashing his three-pronged spin attack who blew away the top half of the South African batting line-up. Dilruwan Perera enjoyed an eventful 36th birthday as he first spilled Dean Elgar and then twice dismissed the opener off no-balls before the finally sending him back for 37.

Rangana Herath bowled Hashim Amla with his drift and turn and Akila Dananjaya struck double blows when he dismissed South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (seven) and the scoreless Maharaj off successive deliveries. Lakmal, the lone paceman in the Sri Lanka attack, did not bowl himself in the first innings and has yet to roll his arm in the second as his spinners wreaked havoc against the leaden-footed South Africans.

Updated Date: Jul 22, 2018





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3712 106
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 3668 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6470 127
2 India 5819 121
3 New Zealand 4602 112
4 South Africa 4275 110
5 Pakistan 3844 104
6 Australia 3699 100
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3972 132
2 India 4601 124
3 Australia 2570 122
4 England 2448 117
5 New Zealand 2542 116
6 South Africa 2093 110