South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2016, 2nd Test, day 1 - 5 Talking Points

South Africa v Sri Lanka - 2nd Test : News Photo
South Africa ended day 1 on top
rohit sankar

Some gutsy batting by Dean Elgar and lower order antics by Quinton de Kock helped South Africa gain the upper hand on a lush green Newlands outfield in the 2nd Test of the series. Elgar fell to the second new ball for 129 after forming a 108-run stand for the sixth wicket with de Kock.

Sri Lanka began proceedings on a positive note by winning the toss and Suranga Lakmal continued his fantastic form with a wicket off the fourth ball, dismissing Stephen Cook for a duck. Elgar and Amla steadied the ship but the latter fell yet again after getting a start to the impressive 19-year-old seamer, Lahiru Kumara, who picked up Duminy as well five balls later.

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At 297/6, with de Kock still at the crease, there is little doubting whose day it was. While Sri Lanka can redeem themselves with some early wickets tomorrow, all eyes will be on how they fare against the Protea seamers later on in the day.

Here are the talking points from the day's play.

#1 Sri Lanka have a squad full of keepers

Sri Lanka decided to drop Kusal Perera for this Test after his reckless show at PE but that did not leave them short in the wicketkeeping department.

Dinesh Chandimal, their regular Test keeper, was struck down with fever, hence Lanka handed over the reigns to 21-year-old Kusal Mendis. Mendis took two wonderful catches, one a brilliant take down the leg side to dismiss Duminy.

Even if Kusal Mendis wasn't available, Lanka still had Kaushal Silva, who was their keeper the last time they toured South Africa and Upul Tharanga, another one more than capable of donning the mitts. Talk about a team of keepers!

#2 Hashim Amla's start-stop innings

Amla showed flashes of brilliance but ultimately succumbed

Hashim Amla has been in poor form right from the beginning of 2016. His average had dipped during the Indian series and he has failed to register a single half-century since then. The closest he came to achieving the feat was when he scored the 48 in Port Elizabeth.

Before the Newlands Test, South Africa took the help of their veteran all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, who watched Amla bat and felt a big score was around the corner. He was timing the ball well and the hunger was still there, according to the former Kolkata Knight Riders player.

Amla started this innings cautiously and was beginning to look like his old self, similar to Port Elizabeth. But the similarities did not end there as he was dismissed in a similar manner as well. The South African left a gaping hole between bat and pad, which allowed Lahiru Kumara’s delivery to burst through.

#3 Lahiru Kumara – Sri Lanka's latest find

Kumara was right on the money from his very first over

The 19-year-old seamer Lahiru Kumara had a great day on the field, as he dismissed both Hashim Amla and JP Duminy in the same over. Amla was undone by a delivery that nipped back sharply off the surface at pace. There was a gap between bat and pad and the ball sneaked through to rattle the timber.

Kumara continued to generate zip off the surface in the same over, sending down some length deliveries outside Duminy's off-stump before pushing one at pace on his hips. Duminy edged uncomfortably and Mendis completed a superb catch down the leg side to make it a memorable over for the 19-year-old.

Kumara is full of promise and possesses the ability to regularly hit the 140kmph mark and generate movement off the surface. What Sri Lanka had in Chameera was pure pace, but in Kumara, they have a more rounded bowler, one who could come in handy on such wickets.

#4 Quinton de Kock's purple patch continues

de Kock shows no signs of stopping

Quinton de Kock's 2016 was exceptional and he has started on a bright note in 2017, making a quickfire 68 off just 90 balls. The wicketkeeper-batsman forged a 108 run stand with Dean Elgar as the duo took the Proteas out of trouble and into a position of strength.

de Kock was particularly harsh on spinners, Herath and de Silva, cutting and driving with confidence. He also gained the upper hand over Kumara and Lakmal, as he raced past the 30s at over a run a ball.

The purpose of bringing de Kock at No. 7 is to play counter attacking cricket and to bat with the tail. In his last few innings, the young keeper has done complete justice to his role lower down the order.

#1 Dean Elgar's big hundred

South Africa v Sri Lanka - 2nd Test : News Photo
Elgar silenced his critics with a magnificent century

Dean Elgar was heavily criticised for throwing away his starts in Port Elizabeth. The stout opener has played a handful of cracking knocks since his debut at the top of the order. However, the good performances were sandwiched between strings of low scores.

With his back against the wall, on a green track with pace and bounce on a offer, and a confident Lakmal running in, Elgar showed his character and grit to notch up a superb hundred. He became the first centurion of the year and made it a memorable one by taking South Africa to a good position.

While he is a natural replacement for Smith at the top of the order, his consistency needs to improve and this hundred would go a long way in raising his confidence and silencing the critics.

Edited by Staff Editor


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