Galle - South Africa were 4/1 at stumps in response to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 287 on Day 1 of the opening Test in Galle on Thursday.
Stumps Day 1: Proteas lose Markram for 0
Kagiso Rabada led a strong bowling performance that saw the Proteas overcome the disadvantage of losing the toss to take all
10 Sri Lanka first innings wickets inside 80 overs.
At one stage it looked as though were holding an
overwhelmingly strong position when they had the home side 176/8 shortly after
the tea interval but opening batsman Dalmuth Karunaratne rallied tail-end support
to see the last two wickets add 111 to the total and give Sri Lanka a much more
competitive 287 all out.
Karunaratne became the fourth Sri Lankan to carry his
bat in a magnificent innings of 158 not out (222 balls, 13 fours and a six). It
was his eighth Test century and the fourth time he has made more than 150.
Sri Lanka then completed an excellent session by taking the
wicket of Aiden Markram in the four overs the Proteas had to face before the
Spin bowling is going to be a factor throughout the match
but the pitch nevertheless looks a good one for batting at this stage.
Rabada moved smoothly back into Test match mode after an
extended break to recover from his back strain and was always a threat as he
took 4/50 in 14 overs. That included the initial breakthrough in his opening
spell and a sensational start to his second spell when he took two wickets off
the first three balls he sent down.
The Proteas included Tabraiz Shamsi as a fifth specialist
bowler as they continued the attacking approach that has been the hallmark of
Ottis Gibson’s reign as head coach and the move paid off. The wrist spinner had
an excellent day with a career best return of 3/91 in 25.4 overs. The first 20
of those overs came in a single spell and for a long time, in addition to the
wickets he took, he conceded little more than two runs to the over.
He came on to bowl at 67/1 after 18 overs and, when he was
rested, Sri Lanka had slumped to 211/8 in 57 which was a clear indication of
His control was most impressive and Karunaratne was the only
Sri Lanka batsman to pick his varieties with confidence. By blocking one end he
enabled Faf du Plessis to launch a short-pitch attack from the other end by
Rabada and the returning Dale Steyn.
It worked for the first 60 overs before the Proteas attack
started to tire.
The five-man attack has given the Proteas a good position
that the specialist batsmen will need to consolidate on day two.