Philander gives SA the edge

2011-12-15 14:23

Sri Lanka 180 all out (AD Mathews 38, TT Samaraweera 36, VD Philander 5/53, DW Steyn 4/18).

Vernon Philander’s third test five-wicket haul and Dale Steyn’s 4/18 ensured that Sri Lanka were bundled out for 180 on the stroke of tea on Day 1 of the first Sunfoil test.

Having been put in to bat, Sri Lanka had the worst possible start when captain Tillakaratne Dilshan gifted Steyn his first wicket when he limply pulled to Philander at midwicket for 6. They suffered another setback when form batsman Kumar Sangakkara lasted only three balls for his single before he sparred a short of length to Jacques Kallis at second slip, opening Philander’s account.

Tharanga Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene steadied the ship with a 54-run partnership. The southpaw pushed, prodded and streaked his way to 32, which included a perfume ball that tested the strength of his helmet. His lack of positive footwork was his downfall as he was castled through the bat and pad gate by Philander.

Mahela Jayawardene, who survived sharp spells in the earlier session, looked in good nick and punched a few clean boundaries. He would have been disappointed with his mode of dismissal, an airy backfoot drive that was caught by Graeme Smith at first slip for a 73-ball 30.

Thilan Samaraweera, who is not known for his ability outside of the subcontinent, had a very edgy start which included plenty of plays and misses. Morne Morkel, who continued to generate disconcerting bounce and movement, should have had Samaraweera back in the shed with the score on 92/4, but his propensity for the front-foot no ball denied him a well deserved wicket. His bowling soon after went to pieces as Angelo Mathews and Samaraweera rattled off a quick-fire 50-run partnership which included 10 boundaries.

The 65-run stand was eventually snuffed out when Samaraweera, who was starting to show the form that makes him immovable at home, feathered a catch to Mark Boucher off Philander. The umpire did not give Samaraweera out instantly, but the Decision Review System sent him on his way.

Boucher and third umpire Richard Kettleborough were in business the very next ball when Kaushal Silva was adjudged to have tickled the ball down the leg side.

Thisara Perera survived the hat trick ball, but he was soon back in the shed when he guided an Imran Tahir delivery to Kallis at first slip, wasting a review in the process. Mathews, the best of the Sri Lankan batsman on the day, became Philander’s fifth victim before Steyn polished off the tail with textbook swing bowling.

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