Forty wickets falling in two and a half days, on an average of five wickets in a session is phenomenal. Chasing 352 for victory on that kind of a wicket is not easy though, South Africa had to face the task as Sri Lanka defeated the world’s number two team by a massive 278 runs [...]


Dil-ruins Proteas image in just two days of off spin


Skipper Suranga Lakmal leads the victorious Lankan team with over two days play remaining in the first Test at Galle yesterday. South Africa were skittled for their lowest score yesterday since re-admission to Test cricket - Pix by Amila Gamage

Forty wickets falling in two and a half days, on an average of five wickets in a session is phenomenal. Chasing 352 for victory on that kind of a wicket is not easy though, South Africa had to face the task as Sri Lanka defeated the world’s number two team by a massive 278 runs at the Galle International Stadium yesterday. Thus, Sri Lanka gained an undefeatable advantage going one up in a two Test series.

It was inevitable. The fate of the game was written on the rampart walls of the Galle Stadium from day one and could be visible only by tea time yesterday. Yet, the South Africa batters just swung their bats for the sake of going through the motions. There were no purpose and  no fight. In the 25 year history of test cricket between the two countries, not a single South African team has gone down in this manner.

Shot out for 73. It was their lowest in the game since re-admission to the international circuit in 1991. The previous lowest was 79 at Nagpur against India in 2015. However, they have been bowled out for 30, twice in test innings. First it was at Port Elizabeth in 1896 by England and 28 years later history repeated in Birmingham.

A captain's knock: not only did he lead the side with a stunning bowling attack, but also contributed with the bat with a timely knock

Plunging South Africa to such a dreadful hell, Dilruwan Perera claimed six for 32, which was his career best in 30 test matches. The right arm off spinner bagged 10 for 78 in Galle to take his tally of test wickets to 119.

It was Dilruwan (4 for 29) and Rangana Herath (2 for 21) who called the tune in Galle before lunch on Saturday. Since then, they never looked back till the game was over and shared nine out of the 10 wickets in the South African second innings.

A forty year old warhorse, Rangana Herath bowled 14 overs in a single spell to claim 3 for 38 before Lakshan Sandakan took only five balls to finish the game off with 13 minutes to tea.

A lot was said about the Galle Stadium in the recent past but to understand what really happened one has to go back and see the full innings replay. All the 20 South African wickets fell due to their poor shot selections, disciplined bowling by spinners and magnificent fielding by the Sri Lankans.

Spinner Dilruwan Perera obliges young fans for a 'selfie'

On the same surface, Dimuth Karunaratne carried his bat through to score 158 in the first innings and another 60 in the second. Playing as bowlers, Suranga Lakmal scored an unbeaten 33 in the second innings and Vernon Phillander accumulated 40 runs in two innings.

In contrast, both South African openers were stumped in the second innings. Two most experienced batsmen, Hashim Amla and Fuf Du Plessis offered their wickets on a platter as both of them were out caught.

If anyone has any doubts about the Galle pitch, there’s only one thing that he can think of.

Dimuth Karunaratne single handedly scored 218 runs but the entire South African team scored only 199 runs in both innings.


Sri Lanka 1st innings 287
South Africa 1st innings 126
Sri Lanka 2nd innings
(114-4 overnight)
Danushka Gunathilaka c Rabada b Maharaj 17
(Flighted delivery outside off, comes down the track and wacks, caught at deep midwicket)
Dimuth Karunaratne c Amla b Rabada 60
(Short, rising delivery outside off, punches away and finds a thick edge to the first slip)
Dananjaya de Silva b Maharaj 9
(Perfect length on middle and leg, goes past outside edge and hits the off stump)
Kusal Mendis lbw b Maharaj 0
(Slower, flighter on the middle stump, misses outside edge and trapped in front)
Angelo Mathews b Maharaj 35
(Arm ball sliding in, attempts a slog sweep, misses completely and hits middle stump)
Roshen Silva run out (Rabada) 13
(Full delivery, batsman drives hard, bowler gets down to stop, ends up deflecting it into the stumps of the non-striker’s end)
Niroshan Dickwella c de Cock b Rabada 2
(Short, fullish, angled delivery, batsman tempted to rive, thick edge to the wicketkeeper)
Dilruwan Perera lbw b Rabada 2
(Inswinger, batsman pads up while not offering a shot, 150th wicket to Rabada)
Suranga Lakmal not out 33
Rangana Herath lbw b Shamsi 0
(Pitches on the leg, going to hit the off stump, sweeps and misses)
Lakshan Sandakan c Bavuma b Steyn 6
(Short, outside off, offers a simple catch at point)
Extras (b2, lb4) 6
Total (all out; 57.4 overs) 190
Fall of wickets: 1-51 (Gunathilaka), 2-64 (de Silva), 3-64 (Mendis), 4-92 (Karunaratne), 5-117 Silva), 6-132 (Dickwella), 7-134 (Perera), 8-156 (Mathews), 9-163 (Herath), 10-190 (Sandakan)
Bowling: Kagiso Rabada 12-0-44-3, Dale Steyn 11.4-1-35-1, Keshav Maharaj 20-5-58-4, Tabraiz Shamsi 11-0-37-1, Vernon Philander 3-0-10-0
South Africa 2nd innings
Aiden Markram st Dickwella b Herath 19
(Slow, pitches outside off, batsman jumps out, spins away and beats him to be stumped)
Dean Elgar st Dickwella b Perera 4
(Flat off-break outside off, attempts desperately to loft going down the pitch and misses)
Hashim Amla c de Silva b Perera 0
(Flighted, dipped, bouncy, batsman draws forward to defend, finds inside edge to leg gully)
Temba Bavuma c de Silva b Perera 2
(Flatter delivery closer to off stump, rips in sharply, finds inside edge to leg slip)
Faf du Plessis (c) c Mathews b Herath 1
(Flighted outside off, draws forward to defend, takes edge and gives a low catch to slips)
Quinton de Kock lbw b Perera 10
(Round the wicket delivery, goes with angle, sweeps and misses)
Vernon Philander not out 22
Keshav Maharaj c Sandakan b Perera 9
(Straight forward delivery, comes down the track and hits straight to deep midwicket)
Kagiso Rabada b Perera 0
(Straight delivery, after the previous delivery spun away after pitching, leaves, hits off stump)
Dale Steyn c and b Herath 2
(Full on middle and leg, drives early over the top, but caught by the bowler)
Tabraiz Shamsi lbw b Sandakan 2
(Googly, beats outside edge and hits pad, appeal turned down, but review overturns original decision)
Extras (b2) 2
Total (all out; 28.5 overs) 73
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Elgar), 2-16 (Amla), 3-24 (Bavuma), 4-25 (du Plessis), 5-32 (Markram), 6-36 (de Kock), 7-58 (Maharaj), 8-58 (Rabada), 9-67 (Steyn), 10-73 (Shamsi)
Bowling: Rangana Herath 14-4-38-3, Dilruwan Perera 14-4-32-6, Lakshan Sandakan 0.5-0-1-1

Toss: Sri Lanka
Umpires: Paul Reiffel (AUS), Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV Umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG)

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