COLOMBO: Sri Lanka closed in on a series whitewash against South Africa on Sunday, with the visitors five down and with a mountain to climb after the third day of the second Test.
By stumps, spinners had ripped their way through the Proteas batsmen yet again to leave them reeling on 139 for 5 in pursuit of an impossible-looking 490 victory target in Colombo.
Against batsmen who clearly decided that attack was the best form of defence, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took two wickets apiece, and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera dismissed Dean Elgar.
The wickets fell despite a comedy of repeated errors from Sri Lanka, who dropped two catches, wasted both their reviews — on successive balls — and could have had Elgar out twice beforehand had Perera not overstepped.
He was reprieved on six when Perera bowled him, and later on 23 when caught behind. On the second occasion, he had even gone right back into the dressing room before being recalled to the middle.
“I was quite happy with that. That’s never happened in my career,” Elgar said afterwards.But Perera finally got his man for 37, leaving South Africa 80 for two, from which they quickly slipped to 113 for five as Hashim Amla went for six, Faf du Plessis for seven and Keshav Maharaj first ball.
Amla had his off stump levelled by a straightening Herath delivery. Du Plessis was the first victim in Dananjaya’s late double strike, when a ball he had inside-edged on to his pad popped up for a catch to slip.
By stumps, number-three batsman Theunis de Bruyn, who survived two very close lbw shouts early in his innings, was 45 not out, with a chance of recording his team’s first half-century of the series.
Temba Bavuma, who came to the crease with Dananjaya on a hat-trick, remained 14 not out.But the South Africans are still staring down the barrel of their first series defeat by Sri Lanka since 2006, when they also suffered a whitewash.
Earlier, Sri Lanka added a further 125 runs to their already-mammoth 364-run lead, as acting captain Suranga Lakmal delayed the declaration until after halfway through the second session.
Sri Lanka won toss
Sri Lanka 1st Innings 338 all out (D de Silva 60; Maharaj 9-129)
South Africa 1st Innings 124 all out (Dananjaya 5-52)
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings
D Gunathilaka c Elgar b Maharaj 61
D Karunaratne c de Kock b Ngidi 85
D De Silva lbw Maharaj 0
K Mendis run out 18
A Mathews c du Plessis b Maharaj 71
R Silva not out 32
†N Dickwella not out 7
Extras (1 nb) 1
Total (5 wickets dec, 81 overs) 275
Did not bat: D Perera, A Dananjaya, *S Lakmal, R Herath
Fall: 1-91, 2-102, 3-136, 4-199, 5-263
Bowling: Maharaj 40-4-154-3, Rabada 8-0-42-0, Markram 7-1-18-0, de Bruyn 5-0-20-0, Steyn 11-2-30-0, Ngidi 9-5-9-1, Elgar 1-0-2-0
South Africa 2nd innings
D Elgar lbw D Perera 37
A Markram lbw Herath 14
T de Bruyn not out 35
H Amla b Herath 6
*F du Plessis c Mathews b Dananjaya 7
K Maharaj lbw Dananjaya 0
T Bavuma not out 14
Extras (8b, 4lb, 4nb) 16
Total (5 wickets, 41 overs) 139
To bat: †Q de Kock, K Rabada, D Steyn, L Ngidi
Fall: 1-23, 2-80, 3-100, 4-113, 5-113
Bowlers: Herath 15-1-54-2, D Perera 16-4-38-1, Dananjaya 10-2-35-2
Umpires: Nigel Llong (England) and Rod Tucker (Australia). TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia). Match referee: Sir Richie Richardson (West Indies)
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