Betway Test Series - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka
2nd Test - Johannesburg - Day 2
Sri Lanka bounced back to claim the last nine South African wickets for 84 runs, wipe out the deficit and take a slender lead of 5 runs, on the 2nd day of the 2nd test match in the Betway Series played at the Wanderers Grounds in Johannesburg yesterday.
Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen continued on their merry way, when the day began and took the South African score to 216, before the Proteas’ lost a flurry of wickets either side of lunch, to be bundled out for 302 runs.
Debutant Asitha Fernando, Dasun Shanaka and left arm pacie Vishwa Fernando then combined to bowl the spell of the tour so far, that not only uplifted their team mates, but also an entire nation of passionate cricket lovers back home.
It was paceman Dushmantha Chameera who however started the rot, when in the 52nd over he dismissed the well set Dean Elgar, who poked at a ball with firm hands to be snapped up by Thirimanne at first slip.
Dasun Shanaka then delivered a dream ball to Faf du Plessis, when he bowled one in to the batsman, drew him forward and got the ball to move away and take the bat’s edge on the way to wicket keeper Dickwella.
Vishwa Fernando went on to grab his first ever 5 wicket haul in a test match innings, when he finished with 5 for 101.
The outcome of this game was almost a foregone conclusion with another innings defeat looming for Sri Lanka in the background.
It had got to a stage where ardent Sri Lankan cricket followers thought it best to forget this ongoing test match, this entire series and look forward to the England tour which is scheduled to take place next.
But cricket is a funny game as it has been proven time and time again that all hope should not be lost until the fat lady sings.
Sri Lanka's pursuit of wiping out the deficit of 145 runs in the second innings did not commence in ideal fashion, when its flamboyant opener Kusal Perera was castled by Lungi Ngidi in the 3rd over.
The Sri Lankan skipper Karunaratne who remains on the cusp of scoring his 10th test century when play resumes, was then joined by Lahiru Thirimanne arguably Sri Lanka's most recycled cricketer.
The duo then put on 85 runs for the 2nd wicket before Thirimanne went onto glove a ball down the leg side to be caught by De Kock off the bowling of Ngidi.
Lungi Ngidi was at his brilliant best yet again, when sevens balls later and in his first of a new over, he had Kusal Mendis caught by De Kock, when he glanced his very first ball down the leg side.
Kusal Mendis' dreadful run with the bat in this series continued, where he was not only out for a golden duck but had bagged a pair of ducks in the match as well.
Kusal Mendis incidentally also went on to register a hat trick of ducks in the last three innings he batted in this series.
Many Sri Lankan cricket followers who have been miffed by his continuous inclusion in the side, despite his recent string of failures, took to social media and literally screamed their voices hoarse in demanding the selectors to drop him immediately.
Kusal Mendis' batting flaws such as his non movement of feet, playing away from his body and fencing balls outside off that he should leave alone, is now being exploited time and again by quality bowlers each time he walks out to the crease.
Adding to his woes, he also has been getting out quite often due to poor shot selection too.
However Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunatilaka, who is not on this tour, was soon to send out a tweet in support of the struggling batsmen.
His tweet read "Stay strong @Kusal Mendis13-Everyone has their moments, but you are a world class player, don’t forget that. You've won many matches for SL and you will continue to do so in the future"
Debutant Minod Bhanuka who much was expected of then joined skipper Karunaratne at the crease.
However his vigil at the crease did not last too long, when his attempted pull of paceman Nortje, was snapped up brilliantly by Keshav Maharaj who ran from mid-on to mid-wicket to hold onto a beautiful tumbling catch.
Wicket Keeper Niroshan Dickwella then joined his skipper and the pair put on 41 runs to take Sri Lanka past the deficit and lead South Africa by 5 runs when stumps were drawn for the day.