SA XI off to a perfect start

2011-12-10 20:40

The ease at which the South African Invitation XI handled the Sri Lankan spinners must have worried the visitors’ brain trust.

The Invitation XI scored 323/6 on day two of the tour match before bad light stopped play.

With their fast bowling, stocks further depleted by the withdrawal of Nuwan Pradeep to a suspected hamstring injury.

Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan found himself resorting to the part-time offerings of Thilan Samaraweera to stem the flow of runs.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Dean Elgar did his Proteas chance no harm with a composed 78 while his Chevrolet Knights teammate, Reeza Hendricks, made a solid 66.

The duo shared an opening stand of 148 before they followed each other in quick succession.

The middle-order chipped in with useful contributions from Stiaan van Zyl and Rilee Rossouw. The two shared a 95-run partnership before Van Zyl was castled by a Samaraweera delivery that was too full to pull.

Rossouw reached his 50 with a six over extra cover, but lost his wicket shortly thereafter when he was stumped by Kaushal Silva off Rangana Herath.

Highveld Lions youngster Temba Bavuma failed to impress, lasting only two balls before he played around a straight one from Herath.

Batsman and wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile squandered a great opportunity to mark off the inside lane as Mark Boucher’s successor when he, on 22, wafted a Dilhara Fernando delivery to Mahela Jayawardene at second slip.

Farhaan Behardien, who started tentatively, grew in confidence as he marched along to 43 off 65 balls (seven fours and a six). He was joined by his Titans teammate David Wiese.

The duo will resume the innings tomorrow morning.

Herath managed to keep the South African batsmen guessing with subtle variations in flight-and-turn on an unresponsive pitch.

He took two wickets for 44 in 20 overs, while Ajantha Mendis was carted all over Willowmoore Park in his 29 overs, which fetched 1/136.

With South African tracks not particularly responsive to spin, it will be hard to see Mendis featuring in the first Test starting on Thursday.

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