Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs South Africa 1st Test 2020

Sri Lanka 396 and 65 for 2 (Perera 33*, Ngidi 2-28) trail South Africa 621 (du Plessis 199, Maharaj, 73, Bavuma 71) by 160 runs

Day three was the day in which South Africa claimed an iron-grip on the Test.

This was partly through Faf du Plessis‘ sparkling 199, and the big partnerships he racked up alongside the lower middle order. But also, due to the injuries to Sri Lanka’s attack, which now have decimated their main bowling resources, in addition to having depleted their batting.

With the hosts having established a 225-run first-innings lead, Sri Lanka are attempting to claw their way back, finishing 160 runs in the red, with only eight wickets in hand.

They don’t have the services of their most fluent batsman in the first innings – Dhananjaya de Silva – and if they manage to make South Africa bat again, they are also now missing three bowlers. Kasun Rajitha, it is perhaps safe to say, is out of the match. Lahiru Kumara, who aborted his 22nd over and went off the field in the morning, seemingly with a groin complaint, may not bowl again in the game either. de Silva’s offspin is also unavailable.

Although the injuries can be at least partially be attributed to Sri Lanka’s less-than-ideal lead-up to the Test series – a result of the pandemic, mainly – South Africa batted long in addition to scoring their runs quickly, and ensured the physical toll on Sri Lanka’s attack was substantial.

du Plessis began the day on 55 and worked himself gradually back into the groove, collecting singles and twos while the old ball was in operation, before climbing into a more aggressive mode against the second new ball. He also fought through a sustained bouncer-barrage from Kumara in the morning session, during which he reached his 10th century, and will feel he earned the right to face the much worse bowling that came his way in the afternoon and evening sessions.

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