Sri Lanka caved in to South Africa by an innings and 45 runs against a brutish pace attack in a contest that was made easier for the home team by virtue of an injury torn opposition inside of four days at Centurion’s Super Sport Park on Monday. The largely injury factor to Sri Lanka’s undoing with a day to spare was best illustrated by the fact that the Lankan loss came despite having mounted their highest Test score of 396 in South Africa. That it had much to do by the premature exiting of star batsman Dhananjaya de Silva when in full cry and on the course to the three figure mark on the second day when his fourth wicket partnership had looked threatening with Sri Lanka on 185 for 3 did manifest the effects of the injury vagaries to the Lankans undoing. It was all over when Nortje had No.9 Kasun Rajitha held by Maharaj for a duck with Sri Lanka, reduced to 10 players by the injury put out of Dhananjaya de Silv.
But the day would yet hold something special for Sri Lanka’s debutant Wanindu Hasaranga who made the defeatist occasion the stage to carve a boundary filled debut half century in signaling his arrival as a promising batsman. Taking strike at No.7 he struck 59 off 53 balls was studded with 12 hits to the ropes and a six by the right handed all-rounder in the wake of his 4-wicket haul.
Resuming from an overnight 65 for 2, South Africa made early inroads when Mulder bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 25 with the right hander adding just 4 to his overnight score as Sri Lanka slid to 85 for 3. The precipitation continued with Niroshan Dickwella becoming Mulder’s next victim caught by de Kock for 10 and when the Proteas claimed the wicket of their bogey man Kusal Janith Perera who had scripted an improbable win when the two sides met in 2019 in the first test, the writing was on the wall for the visitors. Perera was caught behind by de Kock to a delivery by Nortje for 64 having added 31 to his overnight 33. His 87-run innings contained 10 boundaries. Sri Lanka was 114 for 5 at that stage and despite Wanindu Hasaranga’s spirited defiance the South Africans moved on to sealing victory to take a 1-nil lead in the 2-match series. It was a fitting scripting for former captain Faf du Plessis’, the Player of the Match.
SRI LANKA 396 All out (96 Overs) RR: 4.12,
And 65/2 O/N, all out 180 (46.1 Overs) RR: 3.90
(Kusal Janith Perera 64, Wanindu Hasaranga 59, Dinesh Chandimal 25, Lutho Sipamla 2/24, Lungi Ngidi 2/38, Wiaam Mulder 2/39, Anrich Nortje 2/47)
SOUTH AFRICA 621 All out. (142.1 Overs) RR: 4.37
(Faf du Plessis 199, Dean Elgar 95, Keshav Maharaj 73, Temba Bavuma 71, Aiden Markram 68, Wiaan Mulder 36,Quinton de Kock 18, Rassie van der Dussen 15, Dasun Shanaka 1/56, Wanindu Hasaranga 4/171, Vishwa Fernando 3/129, Dasun Shanaka 2/98, Lahiru Kumara 1/103)