Rookies star with the ball again as Proteas claim emphatic win over Sri Lanka

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Wiaan Mulder took the crucial wicket of Dinesh Chandimal (Gallo Images)
Wiaan Mulder took the crucial wicket of Dinesh Chandimal (Gallo Images)

It's taken almost exactly a year to do so, but the Proteas belatedly have a Test victory under their belt again after beating Sri Lanka by an innings and 45 runs in the first Test in Centurion on Tuesday.

SCOREBOARD | Proteas v Sri Lanka - 1st Test

Following the travails of the opening day, where they conceded 340 runs, coach Mark Boucher will be immensely pleased with how well his charges responded to dominate the rest of the match.

In keeping with the match's big theme of youth dovetailing with experience, it was the Proteas' rookies who led the charge with the ball in what proved to be the last day following the grizzled batters' exploits.

Resuming on an already wobbly 65/2, the injury-ravaged visitors only offered sporadic resistance to be bowled out for 180 in their second innings.

Wiaan Mulder was the most prominent performer, again showing his newfound physical strength with an excellent 12-over shift that brought figures of 2/39.

He took the crucial wicket of the experienced Dinesh Chandimal (25), who played back to an excellent fuller delivery that just jumped up ever so slightly.

The 22-year-old Highveld Lions all-rounder scalped another big fish when his tight, teasing line outside off-stump found Niroshan Dickwella's outside edge.

But it was Anrich Nortje (2/47) who broke the back of the Sri Lankan challenge as he found the edge of Kusal Perera, who couldn't get behind a delivery that subtly seamed away.

The powerful left-hander had been leading a charmed life to an extent, but his 87-ball 64 was nonetheless a fine innings that should bode well for the visitors when the second Test at the Wanderers starts on Sunday.

From there, things went rather barmy.

Debutant Lutho Sipamla (2/24) continued his fine impression when he found a perfect line to dislodge a dogged Dasun Shanaka, before the break came three minutes earlier than scheduled when Wanindu Hasaranga and Vishwa Fernando were involved in a comical mix-up, allowing the ever-present Mulder to instigate the run out.

Hasaranga, who interspersed some luck with meaty blows, exploited a lull after lunch when Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock used his spinners to boost the over rate to compile a maiden Test fifity off 46 deliveries before the lanky Sipamla returned to have him caught at long-off.

It wasn't long before Nortje wrapped things up by having the hobbling Kasun Rajitha caught at gully.

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