Sri Lanka vs. South Africa, 2nd Test, Day 3: Highlights, Scorecard and Report

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2014

Sri Lankan batsman Upul Tharanga bats during the third day of the second test cricket match between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Sanka Gayashan)
Sanka Gayashan/Associated Press

South Africa made slow progress on Day 3 of the second Test match against Sri Lanka, affording the hosts a lead of 150 as we move into the penultimate day of the Test.

Sri Lanka closed on 11-0 after South Africa were earlier bowled out for 282; a determined century from Hashim Amla helped the Proteas avoid the follow on.

South Africa 1st Innings
BatsmanMethod of DismissalRunsMinutesBalls
F du Plessisc †Dickwella b Lakmal36109109
HM Amla*not out13938212
AB de Villierslbw b Perera379999
Q de Kock† b Perera022
JP Duminyst †Dickwella b Herath35858
VD Philander b Perera92929
DW Steync Sangakkara b Herath307171
Imran Tahirc Tharanga b Herath153232
M Morkelc Silva b Perera011
Extras(lb 3, w 1, nb 6)10Extras
RAS Lakmal237541
HMRKB Herath4517714
MDK Perera41.511695
BAW Mendis211680
KDK Vithanage40170
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings
BatsmanMethod of DismissalRunsMinutesBalls
WU Tharanganot out6181
JK Silvanot out5121
DW Steyn3170
VD Philander2140

Highlights to follow

The South African batsmen will be well aware that a draw in this game would have been good enough for them to regain their status as the No. 1 Test side on the planet. Factor in the loss of both openers early in their first innings on Day 2, and batting was always going to be slow going for the tourists.

Amla was excellent for his team.
Amla was excellent for his team.Sanka Gayashan/Associated Press

Batting for time seemed to be the order of the day for the Proteas, although the magnificent Amla was still able to put some runs on the board as he looked to haul his side back into the contest. He was immovable at the crease throughout the day, emitting an aura of composure that we’ve come to expect from this fine player.

Amla dug in for his side, and his 253-ball century was a measure of the concentration he showcased during his innings. In fact, Amla actually ended up as the only not out batsman for South Africa, finishing unbeaten on 139 off 382 deliveries.

While no century is a bad one, it was the second slowest century of Amla’s career, as noted here by ESPN CricInfo:

After losing three wickets late on Day 2, it was the kind of effort the tourists desperately needed, although there was a dearth of support for South Africa’s star man. AB De Villiers never looked comfortable during his uncharacteristically conservative knock of 37 from 99 balls, while JP Duminy’s score of three from a staggering 58 balls summed up the mentality of the South African batsmen.

With eight wickets down ESPN CricInfo offered a comparison between the scoring rates of the two different sides:

The tail wagged a little for the tourists, as Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir helped themselves to scores of 30 and 15, respectively, but they were both accounted for by the spin of Rangana Herath. Morne Morkel was the last man out, leaving Amla stranded to be deservedly applauded off the field after a vital knock for his team.

It also left the Sri Lankan openers with a tricky five-over spell to negotiate before the close of play. But Upul Tharanga and Kaushal Silva were able to see off a barrage from Steyn and Vernon Philander with the new ball, meaning that the hosts have all 10 second innings wickets intact as we move toward Day 4 of the Test.

Steyn was unable to notch a late wicket.
Steyn was unable to notch a late wicket.Sanka Gayashan/Associated Press

While today would have been extremely frustrating for Sri Lanka, they still have two days to win this Test match. If they can bat well for a couple of sessions tomorrow then they should be able establish a lead well in excess of what the Proteas can chase down on this turning pitch. Then it'll be in the latter stages of Days 4 and 5 that Sri Lanka’s spinners can then make a difference.