South Africa vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test, Day 2 - 5 talking points

South Africa have the upper hand in the Test match after scoring 426 in their first innings
rohit sankar

Sri Lanka enjoyed some generous seam movement to take five South African wickets in the first session on Day 2 at Johannesburg but that did not stop South Africa from posting 426, a formidable total.

  • In response, Philander dismissed Karunaratne in the third ball of the Lankan innings before adding one more, while Rabada chipped in with two to reduce Lanka to 80/4. Bad light saved them from further embarrassment as Proteas seamers continued to revel in the absence of Abbott.
  • Earlier, Amla was dismissed for 134 in a probing spell by Nuwan Pradeep, who ended up with 4 wickets. Kumara helped clean up the tail by grabbing a four-for himself but their batsmen could not put up a fight against some terrific seam bowling.

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

#5 Nuwan Pradeep enjoys pressure put by other seamers

Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Matthews bowled some brilliant lines early on Day 2 to contain the South African batsmen. There was just too much movement on offer that they could not find the elusive edge, except for the nightwatchman.

Pradeep, stepping into bowl after these two, reaped the rewards for the pressure exerted before him and removed du Plessis and Bavuma in the space of three balls and went on to dismiss Amla with a beauty.

He had Philander caught behind with an absolute snorter as his spell read 4 wickets for one run. Pradeep had been off colour right through the series, but he had woken up on a green pitch, albeit a bit too late.

#4 Bavuma in danger of losing his spot

Temba Bavuma
Bavuma was dismissed for 0

Temba Bavuma had a good start to his Test career with a hundred against England at home before a fighting 72 against Australia in their backyard. A memorable and fantastic run out of Warner in Australia made him a fan favourite.

Sadly, though, runs have deserted him and while his fielding in itself may warrant selection, the man set to return is none other than AB de Villiers. Duminy was the one expected to make way for de Villiers.

But a spectacular ton in Australia followed by another one against the Lankans has put him in a safe spot and Bavuma looks set to be dropped when de Villiers returns.

#3 Wayne Parnell's return

Wayne Parnell
Parnell didn’t pick up a wicket in the innings

Wayne Parnell was always expected to take over the mantle of the South African seam bowling leader when he graduated from the under-19 team. But his captaincy heroics at that level is a thing of the past as he has struggled for a continuous run in the national side.

His waywardness has contributed largely to that, although one could also point out that a bout of injuries did not help his cause. That said, Parnell is a beast when on fire and can rip apart any line-up on his day.

He failed to find the inswinger that made him a valuable asset in the domestic circuit but kept beating Kusal Mendis with balls that seamed away. He finally found the edge only for it to go between the slips and gully for four.

#2 Vernon Philander is well and truly back

Vernon Philander
Philander was exceptional and picked up 2 wickets

The sharp, nippy seamer had a poor period after one heck of a start to his Test career. He was labelled as someone who could bowl well only on meadows, where the pitch helped seam movement.

Taking over from the injured Dale Steyn in Perth, Philander showed how wrong critics were about him as he went about leading the Proteas pace bowlers with panache, finishing as the Man of the Series.

He was unplayable in Port Elizabeth and Newlands against Lanka and on a green pitch in Jo'burg, he looked set to rip through them. A wicket off the third ball spurred him on but too much movement took away some of the threat; he did get the wicket of de Silva before the close of play.

#1 Sri Lankan batting a thing to worry about

Kusal Mendis
Mendis was 9 short of a half-century

Sri Lanka may go back from this series a lot more happy with their seam bowlers than the start of the tour. But if they thought the talented batsmen who whitewashed the Aussies at home would become world beaters, they were mistaken.

Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have come up a cropper against some nasty fast bowlers and their senior batsmen, Matthews and Chandimal, have also struggled to find the middle of the bat.

The South African bowling attack might be just too strong but the Lankan batting has been pretty poor as they have been found out in technique and impatience. If they need better luck in Test cricket, they need to start putting up better totals.

Edited by Staff Editor


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