The first cricket test between South Africa and Sri Lanka was on a knife’s edge at the close of play on day two at Kingsmead in Durban.
In reply to the Proteas’ first innings total of 235, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 191, but the visitors hit right back to restrict the home-side to 126 for the loss of four wickets in their second innings, a lead of just 170 runs.
Captain Faf du Plessis was still there at the close of play on 25. With him is Quinton de Kock who is on 15.
After the opening day belonged to the visitors, the Proteas needed to strike back and strike back hard
and they did exactly that through their four fast bowlers.
Sri Lanka resumed on 49 for the loss of one wicket, but lost five wickets in the first session of day two.
The procession continued after lunch in a session during which the innings was wrapped up.
Dale Steyn, who took the first Sri Lankan wicket on Wednesday and also the first one to fall on day two, dismissed Suranga Lakmal for four and danger-man Kusal Perera for 51 in the post lunch session.
Steyn bowled a ten-over spell in search of his fifth of the inning, but it was not to be. Instead, he assisted Kagiso Rabada in claiming his second scalp and Sri Lanka were bowled out for 191, trailing the Proteas by 44 runs.
With the luxury of a lead, the South African opening batsman and Aiden Markram in particular, played free flowing cricket, but a loose delivery was his undoing and he was dismissed for 28 off 31 deliveries.
The quality of batting was again a big disappointment. Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma could only contribute 16 and three respectively, the soft underbelly of South Africa’s top order exposed again.
Dean Elgar and captain Faf du Plessis added just 19 runs for the fourth wicket before Elgar was brilliantly caught and bowled by Lasith Embuldeniya for 35. And South Africa’s hopes of a descent lead now rest on the shoulders of Du Plessis and first innings hero, Quinton de Kock.