South African opening batsmen Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram scored freely against a depleted Sri Lankan bowling attack as the host nation fought back on the second day of the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
The Proteas were 180 for one at tea in reply to Sri Lanka’s imposing first-innings total of 396.
Elgar and Markram put on 141 for the first wicket, scoring at almost five runs an over before Markram was caught at gully off Vishwa Fernando for 68. Elgar was unbeaten on 86 at the interval.
Sri Lanka went into the match without leading fast bowler Suranga Lakmal because of a hamstring strain and suffered a major blow when opening bowler Kasun Rajitha limped off the field with what appeared to be a groin injury after bowling one ball in his third over.
Sri Lanka was already without batsman Dhananjaya de Silva who was ruled out of the rest of the series after suffering a grade two tear in his left thigh which forced him to retire hurt after scoring 79 on Saturday.
With De Silva also a capable off-spin bowler, the tourists were reduced to a four-man attack, which included Dasun Shanaka, bowling at a gentle medium pace, and debutant leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.
As had been the case with the inexperienced South African bowlers, the Sri Lankans struggled to find consistency and the batsmen took advantage of some loose bowling. Markram and Elgar struck 14 fours each across a fast outfield.
Earlier, Shanaka hit an aggressive 66 not out before South African new cap Lutho Sipamla wrapped up the Sri Lankan innings by taking three wickets in 11 balls.
Shanaka, 29, playing in his first Test in more than three years, and with a previous highest score of 17 in three appearances, hit three fours and five sixes in his 87-ball innings.
Sri Lanka’s total far exceeded their previous highest in a Test innings in South Africa, 342 in Cape Town in 2011/12.
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Source – EWN