Betway Test Series - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka
2nd Test - Johannesburg - Day 1
Sri Lanka's 2nd Test in the Betway Series commenced in miserable fashion once again, when they were bowled out for 157 runs in less than 41 overs at the Wanderers in Johannesburg yesterday.
Many cricket fans who nestled in the comfort of their homes to watch the game, perhaps may have been reminded of a famous television series named the X-Files, no sooner the name Mulder was mentioned by the cricket commentators.
In that famous series, a Special Agent also named Mulder worked in tandem with his partner Scully, to solve many mysteries in that aired television series of the 1980’s.
But instead here at the Wanderers yesterday, it was a different series that was taking place altogether and instead of a Special Agent there was a South African fast bowler also named Mulder who was this time partnered by his team mate Anrich Nortje, that went onto exploit the serious flaws of the Sri Lankan batsmen.
These flaws range from the Sri Lankan batsmen being unaware of where their off stump line is to playing or fishing at deliveries that they should be leaving alone.
Whilst these flaws continue to haunt the Sri Lankan batsmen, both Mulder and Nortje combined together to have Sri Lanka’s first nine wickets to fall either caught by wicket keeper Quinton De Kock (5 catches) or by the rest of the slip cordon.
Only the last wicket to fall and that of debutant Asitha Fernando, saw the batsman's woodwork rearranged when a yorker was hurled at him by Nortje after the batsman backed away a bit too much.
After winning the toss and probably the only thing Sri Lanka have won in this series so far, the islanders opted to bat first.
It was a similar ploy employed by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne who, quite intently and like in the first test match decided to bat first after winning the toss, set the stage and take full control of the game from the onset itself.
Even the commentators thought it was a bold move, especially as it was something quite unnatural for a visiting Asian to do.
But that's how brave the Sri Lankan skipper was perhaps at least in his attitude, even though he himself lacked it in skill and went on to prove it once again.
The only difference between the first test match and this, is that at the Centurion the Sri Lankans at least established a record by posting their highest ever innings total in South Africa.
But over here at the Bull Ring they were blown away by two South African quick’s, who went on to snap up nine wickets between themselves either side of lunch.
Despite Mickey Arthur insisting on carrying more patients than cricketers on this tour, the Head Coach was faced with more of a headache than a selection crisis in firstly having to pick eleven cricketers, who could endure five days of test cricket, before he could pick a cricketer to match the skills and talents of the Proteas.
Cricketers such as Oshadha Fernando and Suranga Lakmal were gifted with Christmas bonanzas in the form of handsome tour payments for simply travelling to the southern hemisphere as tourists on a chartered flight, rather than cricketers who were supposed to take the field on this tour.
Sri Lanka commenced their innings with both openers playing contrasting roles.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne used up 32 balls to score a mere two runs before Nortje got one to rise off a good length, surprise the batsmen and have him glove a catch to wicket keeper Quinton De Kock.
Kusal Perera on the other hand plodded and blocked a few and went on to punish 11 deliveries to the boundary, in what looked more of a T20 style approach as opposed to a test match inning.
When Kusal Perera got out with the score at 71, he himself had scored 60 of those runs all by himself.
That sparked a remarkable collapse as number 3 batsmen Lahiru Thirimanne, number 4 batsman Kusal Mendis and debutant Minod Bhanuka were all sent to the pavilion before lunch.
Sri Lanka who were sitting pretty at 71 for 1 soon found themselves at 84 for 5 by lunch.
After lunch it was Nortje who came to the party and went on to claim six wickets in total and also register his best bowling analysis in an innings.
Nortje finished with 6 for 56 off 11.3 overs bowled.
The Proteas using a beautiful green top which also provided slight variable movement used the condition to good effect and bowled superb lines and length to all the Sri Lankan batsmen.
They looked sharp and also portrayed that they had done their homework much better than their opponents.
With the scoreboard reading 110 for 7 and with Karunaratne, Thirimanne, Mendis, Bhanuka, Dasun Shanaka and Dickwella stringing scores of 2,17,0,5,7 and 4 it was Hasaranga De Silva the number 8 batsman and Dushmantha Chameera the number 9 batsman who ended up propelling Sri Lanka passed the 150 run mark by scoring 29 and 22 runs respectively.
The South Africans in their turn opened with Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram.
Markram was the first to go when he gifted debutant Asitha Fernando his first test wicket courtesy a catch snapped up by Kusal Mendis.
Thereafter Elgar teamed up with Rassie van der Dussen to establish an unbroken 114 run stand for the 2nd wicket scored off 29.3 overs, to see the Proteas end the day at 148 for 1 at stumps and trail Sri Lanka’s 1st innings by a mere 9 runs.
Sri Lanka gifted debut caps to batsman Minod Bhanuka and paceman Asitha Fernando prior to the start of play.