JOHANNESBURG: Anrich Nortje gutted Sri Lanka’s middle order after Wiaan Mulder set a top-order collapse in motion, as South Africa skittled the visitors for 157 and moved into a commanding position at the Wanderers.
Nortje frequently hit speeds of above 145kph on a pitch with steepling bounce at times, unsettling several Sri Lanka batsmen with his bouncer, and backing them into positions where they did not trust their defence against him. Many fell playing attacking shots, and Nortje claimed 6 for 56 – the best figures of his fledgling career.
After Sri Lanka had been dismissed inside 41 overs, shortly before tea, Dean Elgar saw South Africa through to the close with an unbeaten 92 off 119 balls – his team on the cusp of moving into the lead with nine wickets still in hand. He and Russie van der Dussen had put on 114 together by stumps.
Sri Lanka’s dispiriting day was buoyed only by the innings of Kusal Perera, whose 60 off 67 suggested Sri Lanka might go on to have a much bigger first innings than they eventually did. Beyond that, and the bowling of Asitha Fernando who claimed his maiden Test wicket, there was little for the visitors to celebrate. Already, their vastly depleted side may be out of this match. Both previous Tests they’ve played at the Wanderers have ended in innings defeats, and unless there is a substantially improved performance on Monday, this match could head in a similar direction.
What will be especially disappointing for Sri Lanka was that they were actually in decent shape after the first 20 overs of the day. Nortje had dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne early by gaining sharp bounce from just short of a length, but Perera had moved into attack mode, thumping South Africa’s bowlers through the off side with particular relish. He was hit a few times on the body early in the innings, particularly by Nortje, and his innings contained 11 fours.
Sri Lanka won toss
Sri Lanka 1st Innings
*D. Karunaratne c De Kock b Nortje 2
K. Perera c Markram b Mulder 60
L. Thirimanne c Du Plessis b Mulder 17
K. Mendis c Van der Dussen b Mulder 0
M. Bhanuka c Van der Dussen b Nortje 5
N. Dickwella c De Kock b Nortje 7
D. Shanaka c De Kock b Nortje 4
W. Hasaranga c De Kock b Sipamla 29
D. Chameera c De Kock b Nortje 22
V. Fernando not out 2
A Fernando b Nortje 4
Extras (lb5) 5
Total (all out, 40.3 overs) 157
Fall: 1-19 (Karunaratne), 2-71 (Perera), 3-71 (Mendis), 4-80 (Thirimanne), 5-84 (Bhanuka), 6-93 (Dickwella), 7-110 (Shanaka), 8-149 (Hasaranga), 9-151 (Chameera)
Bowling: Ngidi 10-3-44-0, Nortje 14.3-1-56-6, Sipamla 9-3-27-1, Mulder 7-3-25-3
South Africa: Q. de Kock, D. Elgar, A. Markram, H. van der Dussen, F. du Plessis, T. Bavuma, W. Mulder, K. Maharaj, A. Nortje, L. Sipamla, L. Ngidi
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Adrian Holdstock (both RSA). TV umpire: Allahudien Paleker (RSA)
Source: The News