Sri Lanka in SA

Biff: We bowled incredibly well

2011-12-17 17:01
Graeme Smith (Gallo)

Centurion - South African captain Graeme Smith said his team produced a better bowling performance in sweeping aside Sri Lanka in the first Test here on Saturday than they did when they bowled out Australia for 47 last month.

"Today was emphatic," said Smith after South Africa completed an innings and 81 runs victory before tea on the third day at SuperSport Park.

Man of the match Vernon Philander claimed his second five-wicket haul of the match - and his fourth in his first three Tests - as Sri Lanka crashed to 150 all out in their second innings.

Philander took five for 49 and 10 for 102 in the match. Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher took six catches to equal the South African record for the fourth time.

The Sri Lankans could not cope with South Africa's pace attack on a pitch of uneven bounce and extravagant seam movement.

"We bowled incredibly well," said Smith.

"Our intensity was great. Each guy bowled with pace and skill. Obviously there was still a lot in the wicket, which especially Vern got to exploit.

"We're trying to be a process-driven team, focusing on our own skills. Today was probably the best standard we produced, even though we bowled Australia out for 47."

Sri Lankan captain Tillekeratne Dilshan said he had known all along that conditions would favour the fast bowlers but he said uneven bounce had been a major contributor to his team losing 20 wickets for 330 runs in the match.

Dilshan said the performance of the Sri Lankan bowlers was a positive factor even though South Africa made 411 in their only innings.

"Our bowlers did a great job," he said. "At one stage we could have bowled them out for maybe 250 but we missed four chances. If the batsmen can put runs on the board, I feel we can bowl them out."

The Sri Lankan captain said the batsmen had been working hard. "But we need to take it out to the middle," he said.

Dilshan said the Sri Lankan squad would be boosted before the second Test, which starts in Durban on December 26, by the arrival of fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekera and Dhammika Prasad, who had recovered from injuries which kept them out of the original touring squad.

"They are playing in a domestic final today and then they will fly to South Africa," he said.

Trailing by 231 runs on the first innings, Sri Lanka were effectively beaten when they crashed to 38 for four at lunch. Philander took two wickets and Dale Steyn one before Sri Lanka lost Mahela Jayawardene to a needless run out when he was one run short of becoming the first Sri Lankan to score 10 000 runs in Tests.

Philander made the first breakthrough when he had Dilshan caught behind by Mark Boucher for six in the fourth over, with Dilshan forced to play a ball close to his off stump which moved away off a pitch which has helped the fast bowlers throughout the match.

Tharanga Paranavitana was caught behind for four off Dale Steyn in the fifth over and Kumar Sangakkara followed two overs later when he edged a superb delivery from Philander to Boucher, the ball swinging in to the left-hander and then nipping away off the pitch.

Jayawardene, needing 16 to reach 10 000 Test runs, took his score to 15 with two boundaries in an over off Jacques Kallis.

He then pushed a ball from Kallis to the off side and was called through for a run by batting partner Thilan Samaraweera. Kallis reacted quickly, picked up the ball, turned and threw down the stumps at the bowler's end with Jayawardene well short.

Samaraweera made a plucky 32 before he was caught behind off Morne Morkel, which effectively ended the tourists' resistance, although Thisera Perera and Rangana Herath hit sixes before Philander claimed the final wicket when Herath was caught behind.

South Africa had the luxury of being able to give Kallis an over against last man Dilharo Fernando, the bowler who struck him a heavy blow on the left temple during South Africa's innings. Kallis bowled a series of short-pitched balls.

"It's hard out there," said Smith.

"There are a few of us who have been hit on the head and wish we could bowl fast. Jakes is blessed that he can do both."

Read more on:    sri lanka in sa  |  graeme smith
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