JOHANNESBURG: Sri Lanka overcame the early loss of opener Dimuth Karunaratne to mount a swift counter-attack and race to 46 for one at tea on the second day of the third and final test against South Africa at the Wanderers on Friday.
The tourists had earlier taken the final seven South African first innings wickets for just 88 with some high-class fast bowling to restrict the home side to 426 all out.
Kusal Mendis will resume in the evening session on 33 along with Kaushal Silva, who has 12. The pair took the attack to the bowlers after the early loss of Karunaratne, who was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Vernon Philander for a duck.
Sri Lanka, 2-0 down in the series, produced an excellent fightback having been flayed on day one as South Africa resumed in the morning session on 338 for three.
A magnificent spell of hostile fast bowling before lunch from Nuwan Pradeep (4-78) ripped through the middle-order as he recorded figures of four wickets for 15 runs in seven overs.
He was aided by a lively pitch that began to show prodigious movement almost immediately and overcast conditions meant there was also swing through the air.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews quickly removed nightwatchman Duanne Olivier (3) when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.
Home skipper Faf du Plessis (16) was dropped off a simple chance by Kusal Mendis when he had one, but repeated the gift soon afterwards as Pradeep produced a magnificent delivery to square him up and this time Mendis held on at second slip.
Themba Bavuma’s wretched run continued when he was caught in the slips by Kaushal Silva off Pradeep two balls later for 0,before the tourists snared the prized wicket of Hashim Amla for 134.
Amla had completed the rare feat of scoring a century in his 100th test but Pradeep brought the magnificent innings to a close when he coaxed an edge to Chandimal.
The seamer grabbed his fourth wicket when he had Vernon Philander caught by the wicketkeeper for a duck.
The morning session was a far cry from the home side’s imperious batting display on Thursday, when Amla and JP Duminy (155) put on 292 for the third wicket to guide the hosts into a dominant position. – REUTERS
Story first published: 13th January 2017