Akila Dananjaya stars with bat and ball: Sri Lankan spinners sink South Africa again | Sunday Observer

Akila Dananjaya stars with bat and ball: Sri Lankan spinners sink South Africa again

Destroyer of the South African innings Akila Dananjaya successfully appeals for an lbw against Dale Steyn (not in picture)              Pic: Saman Mendis
Destroyer of the South African innings Akila Dananjaya successfully appeals for an lbw against Dale Steyn (not in picture) Pic: Saman Mendis

Sri Lanka took a stranglehold of the second Test after their spinners Akila Dananjaya and Dilruwan Perera had bowled South Africa out for mediocre 124 runs in the first innings on the second day at the SSC ground yesterday.

Sri Lanka with a healthy first innings lead of 214 stretched it to 365 by the close finishing the day at 151 for three wickets. They are in a strong position to push for a win that would give them a 2-0 whitewash of the two-Test series with three more days left in the match.

At the wickets were Dimuth Karunaratne on 59 not out and Angelo Mathews on 12 not out.

Danushka Gunathilaka and Karunaratne completed their second half-centuries of the match putting together an opening partnership of 91 to go with their first innings effort of 116.

Gunathilaka was dismissed for an aggressive 61 scored off 68 balls (6 fours, 2 sixes) but Karunaratne who has been the cornerstone of the Lankan batting played another watchful innings hitting eight fours off 92 balls to carry his aggregate in the series to 330 which is seven runs more than the total number of runs South Africa has scored in the series so far.

South Africa gave another deplorable display of batting against spin when they were shot out for 124 by tea replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 338.

The Lankan spinners who wrought havoc in the first Test at Galle dismissing South Africa for scores of 126 and 73 continued their stranglehold on the Proteas batsmen who were all at sea against the spin of Akila Dananjaya and Dilruwan Perera who took nine wickets between them. Dananjaya who is classed as an off-spinner but bowls several varieties of deliveries including leg-spin, googly, carom ball and ‘doosra’ confounded the hapless South African batsmen to finish with figures of 5 for 52 off 13 overs – his second five-for in a short three-Test career.

He began their collapse by capturing the first two wickets for eight runs sending back Dean Elgar and Theunis de Bruyn for 0 and 3 in his first two overs and after Rangana Herath had dismissed Aiden Markram for seven making South Africa 15-3, teamed up with Perera to complete the final demolition of the South African innings.

Skipper Faf du Plessis was once again his team’s top scorer with a counter-attacking innings of 48 off 51 balls inclusive of eight fours and a six.

Quinton de Kock tried to emulate his skipper scoring a quick 32 off 31 balls with three fours but overall it was a pitiful display of batting by a team that is ranked no 2 in the world.

South Africa once again proved their weakness against off-spin that saw Perera finish with figures of 4 for 40 to go with his match bag of ten at Galle.

Hashim Amla who became Perera’s first victim falling to a bat-pad catch became the third South African batsman to cross the 9,000-run mark in Test cricket after Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith.

To say that the day belonged to Dananjaya would not be an understatement for before he wrecked the South African batting and frustrated their bowlers on the field by batting for nearly two hours to score a career best 43 not out off 91 balls (7 fours).

With Herath who scored a plucky 35 off 68 balls (4 fours) the pair added 74 runs for the last wicket batting for 93 minutes - a new tenth wicket record for the series improving on the 63 made by Dimuth Karunaratne and Lakshan Sandakan in the first Test at Galle.

Try as they might the South Africans could not separate the two until after the first drinks break for the day when Keshav Maharaj finally had Herath caught on the sweep shot to pick up his ninth wicket of the innings.

His figures of 9 for 129 was the best by a South African bowler after readmission to the Test fold in 1991 and second best overall for South Africa after off-spinner Hugh Tayfield’s 9 for 113 against England at Johannesburg in 1957.

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