Proteas

Proteas: The stats are 'galling'

Faf Du Plessis (Getty Images)
Faf Du Plessis (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Sri Lanka truly have South Africa by the short and curlies in the first Test at Galle ... and statistics are no comfort at all for the Proteas, either.

DAY 2 REPORT: Proteas face mammoth task to save first Test

With three full days left, a win for the visitors is massively unlikely and a draw virtually as implausible for them.

The global sixth-ranked Sri Lankans lead by 272 runs with as many as six second-innings wickets still in hand, strongly suggesting that Faf du Plessis and company may be lucky to be chasing a target of anything less than 350.

They will set a superlative record if they do chase down such a steep figure, as fourth-innings prosperity at Galle International Stadium is an elusive beast.

It is reflected in the highest score in that knock for a winning cause being the 99 for three (not the most high-pressure target to reach) posted by the 'Lankans in a seven-wicket triumph over Pakistan in 2014.

The best fourth-innings total overall at the venue is exactly 300, achieved by the Pakistanis in a 2012 series, although it was way off the required target of 510 and they were thumped by 209 runs.

A minor dollop of hope for the Proteas, as they contemplate a much more resilient second turn at the crease than their first (a painful 126 in 54.3 overs), is that in that match Pakistan greatly bettered their own first dig, which had been 100 all out, to lose with a modicum of honour intact.

Significantly ring-rusty having come out of the chilly heart of the domestic winter, SA will hope a couple of their known heavyweight figures at the crease gradually banish cobwebs as the Test grinds on.

Since the Proteas' last Test match at Galle, a rousing 153-run victory in 2014, here are the final-innings scores by teams at the ground:

2014: Sri Lanka 99/3 (target 99) - beat Pakistan by three wickets

2015: Pakistan 92/0 (target 90) - beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets

2015: India 112 (target 176) - lost to Sri Lanka by 63 runs

2015: West Indies 227 (third innings of match) - lost to Sri Lanka by inns and six runs

2016: Australia 183 (target 413) - lost to Sri Lanka by 229 runs

2017: Bangladesh 197 (target 457) - lost to Sri Lanka by 259 runs

2017: Sri Lanka 245 (target 550) - lost to India by 304 runs 

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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