Sri Lanka staring down the barrel

2011-12-17 12:00

Sri Lanka first innings: 180 and second innings: 38/4 (VD Philander 2/9, DW Steyn 1/13), South Africa first innings: 411 all out

If ever there was retribution that was to be meted out for the beatings received on the Sri Lankan featherbed, SuperSport Park was the place as the visitors limped to 38/4 at lunch on day three of the first Sunfoil Test.

Having to make 231 in order to take the game into day four or further, Sri Lanka nearly had the worst possible start when Dale Steyn, who was on a hat trick, nailed Tharanga Paranavitana in front with the first ball.

Umpire Rod Tucker ruled not out and the decision was referred, vindicating Tucker’s decision as the ball was missing leg stump.

Paranavitana, whose foot movements resemble a primary school kid whose shoe laces are tied together, was again caught leg before by Vernon Philander, but the Decision Review System (DRS) saved him.

Philander, with his Glenn McGrath-like metronomy outside offstump, was rewarded with the big wicket of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (6), who feathered one behind to Mark Boucher. Philander had given the opener a stern offstump examination throughout the over.

11/1 soon became 11/2 as Paranavitana (4) failed his outside off-stump examination against Steyn when he gifted Boucher a second catch to go with his half century scored earlier during the Proteas’ first innings.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, the pair who tormented South Africa to the tune of 624 runs at the Sinhalese Sports Club on 2006, were together and carried the hopes of the Sri Lanka fightback, but that was snuffed out when Sangakkara (2) edged Philander to Boucher, leaving Sri Lanka tottering at 19/3.

Jayawardene (15), who began the innings needing 16 to join the 10 000-run club, fell for a suicidal single that could only be found in the Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq school of running between the wickets, leaving him on 9999 runs.

Earlier in the morning, Boucher raised his 35th Test 50 off the first ball of the day when he glided Dilhara Fernando to fine leg.

Boucher and Tahir extended their partnership to 61, the highest 10th wicket partnership at the ground. Boucher was eventually dismissed for 65 by Chanaka Welegedara.

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