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Perera, Lakmal & Karunaratne give Sri Lanka command

254   //    13 Jul 2018, 18:29 IST
Sri Lanka celebrate a wicket against South Africa

Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal dismantled South Africa before Dimuth Karunaratne continued his marvellous form with the bat as Sri Lanka took command of the first Test on day two.

South Africa will have ended day one satisfied after bowling out Sri Lanka for 287 despite Karunaratne carrying his bat for 158, yet any hope of them building a lead was emphatically extinguished on Friday in Galle.

Off-spinner Perera took 4-46 and Lakmal 3-21 as South Africa were skittled for just 126, with Karunaratne then making Sri Lanka's lead even healthier as he went for a pacy 60.

As in the first innings, his 80-ball knock was the lone highlight in Sri Lanka's second turn at the crease, which was otherwise underwhelming as they closed on 111-4, but on their way to what should prove a decisive advantage, the lead standing at 272.

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has openly talked about their ambition to snatch the number one Test ranking from India, but South Africa's performance with the bat was far from befitting of a side worthy of that lofty standing.

They resumed 4-1, Aiden Markram the lone man to depart, but Keshav Maharaj (3) fell to Rangana Herath in the third over of day two and that set in motion a withering display from the tourists as they struggled to cope with a lively pitch.

Dean Elgar (8) edged Perera to slip to leave South Africa 13-3, Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma briefly stemming the tide before the former flicked the same bowler to short leg for 15.

Bavuma dragged a Lakshan Sandakan delivery on to his stumps soon after for 17 and Perera then removed the off stump of Quinton de Kock (3).

Skipper Faf du Plessis was the only South Africa batsman to make a meaningful contribution, and his partnership of 64 with Vernon Philander gave them some hope of posting a competitive total.

Yet Philander was trapped lbw by Perera and De Kock fell one short of a half-century to Lakmal, who subsequently polished off the tail.

Karunarate appeared in ominous form as he surpassed 200 for the match and struck seven fours. However, Kagiso Rabada drew a thick outside edge that saw him Karunaratne finally dismissed, with Maharaj (3-37) enabling South Africa to get into the Sri Lanka middle order before Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva reached the close unscathed.

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