Blow by blow: Proteas in driving seat on tough day

Kagiso Rabada stuck to his guns well on a difficult day.  Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP.

Kagiso Rabada stuck to his guns well on a difficult day. Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP.

Everything is in South Africa’s favour to claim an eventual victory over Sri Lanka at St George’s Park. Re-live all the action here.

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18.02: The Proteas require 5 wickets to win, Sri Lanka 248 runs. The equation is pretty much in the hosts’ favour. That said, the visitors applied themselves much better. SL 240/5 at the close.

17.53: Kyle Abbott “strikes” with his first ball of a new spell but Dhananjaya de Silva reviews and Hawk Eye says it’s missing leg-stump. Good call. SL 231/5.

17.46: South Africa take the new ball. This could be fun. SL 227/5.

17.36: GONE! Poor from Dinesh Chandimal. He had already survived a chance and tries to slog Keshav Maharaj again. No timing and no elevation as Kagiso Rabada snaffles the chance at mid-on. Maharaj has bowled 22 overs on the trot and gets his just reward. SL 225/5.

17.33: He toned down significantly after a quick start but Angelo Mathews reaches a valuable 50 off 93 deliveries. Solid knock. SL 224/4.

17.30: Maharaj has tied up his end well and helping the Proteas get quicker to the second new ball. He’s deserved better. SL 217/4.

17.07: Dropped! It hasn’t been the best of days in the field for Stephen Cook. Dinesh Chandimal chances his arm but he totally mistimes a slog over mid-off. The ball bursts right through Cooky’s hands. He is furious with himself. SL 207/4.

16.42: GONE! Kusal, what are you doing? Kagiso Rabada starts a new spell around the wicket, trying to trap Angelo Mathews with a short ball on the pull. Instead, Mendis makes room and tries to push a bouncer over the keeper. It’s too quick and he feathers it to Quinton de Kock. SL 193/4.

16.21: Kusal Mendis had the cricketing world talking with his knocks against Australia earlier this year. He’s doing his reputation no harm with an excellent unbeaten 52 here. SL 183/3.

16.05: Meanwhile, the Mendis-Mathews combo has grown past 50.

16.03: Keshav Maharaj traps Angelo Mathews on the back foot but umpire Bruce Oxenford says not out. South Africa review but the ball doesn’t turn enough. SL 171/3.

15.54: Promising partnership developing between Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews. They take the visitors past 150. Maharaj is causing a few problems though. SL 154/3.

15.25: OUT! Splendid delivery from Kagiso Radaba. It nips back into the obdurate Kaushal Silva and its plumb in front. Silva reviews because he thinks it might be high but it’s not. Hard work undone. SL 118/3.

14.58: An extended second session comes to an end. Kaushal Silva has shown commendable application in reaching an unbeaten 48. South Africa need some inspiration on what has become a unfriendly surface. SL 118/2.

14.40: Kusal Mendis shows good reactions after a drive from Silva is deflected onto his stumps. Sri Lanka move past 100.

14.13: WICKET! One brings two. Keshav Maharaj bowls a smart over to Kusal Perera, cramping him and tempting him to play on the off-side. This one goes on straight and Perera, trying to cut, gets an edge. SL 93/2.

14.02: GONE! Disaster for the Sri Lankans! The opening pair had been doing so well and then a run out! It seemed like perfectly good quick single but for some reason both Silva and Karunaratne hesitate mid-pitch. JP Duminy is like a hawk and even a dive can’t save Karunaratne. SL 87/1.

13.26: Close! Keshav Maharaj draws Silva forward and he clips one in the air to Dean Elgar at short midwicket. He gets a hand to it but it’s a difficult one. Not the type of risks Sri Lanka need now. SL 54/0.

13.25: 50 up for the Sri Lankans. The application of Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne has been excellent.

13.12: This is going to be a game of patience. Both sides not giving an inch. It’s actually pretty decent Test cricket this. SL 42/0.

12.01: Despite Rabada’s good spell, the Sri Lankans handled themselves competently in an awkward session. The Proteas will now definitely realise some assistance in the pitch has disappeared. SL 27/0

11.48: Kagiso Rabada is looking a bit better in this innings. Bowls a nasty delivery to Kaushal Silva but the diminutive opener’s hands are s0ft and the catch doesn’t carry to Quinton de Kock. Lovely ball. SL 21/0.

11.25: Kyle Abbott and Vernon Philander have been miserly in the first six overs. They’ve only conceded 7 runs. But Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne have been patient.

10.47: And the declaration comes. A lead of 487 will be enough, even if Pakistan made a fist of chasing 490 against Australia the other day.

10.44: OUT! Herath gets some reward. De Kock sweeps two balls later but misses. He reviews just for the fun of it yet it’s stone dead. He’s out for 69. SA 406/6.

10.43: Rangana Herath gets some purchase out of the rough and traps De Kock on the crease. Bruce Oxenford says not out but Sri Lanka insist on a review. It’s not a bad one but Hawk Eye says Umpire’s Call. That dreaded phrase. De Kock survives. SA 406/5.

10.42: The pair stroll past 400. Is the magical declaration number 500?

10.28: And Faf du Plessis reaches the 50 mark too with a whip through midwicket. It’s taken him 73 deliveries.

10.24: Nothing has changed since last evening. Quinton de Kock reaches his 50 off 66 deliveries and it hasn’t even been all that attacking. SA 369/5.

10.00: Hashim Amla, according to us, stole some of Stephen Cook’s thunder on Wednesday. Here’s why. (Warning: It’s tongue in cheek!)

9.55: Welcome to day four’s coverage of the first Test between the Proteas and Sri Lanka. It seems Faf du Plessis is going to bat on because he doesn’t think there’ll be too much assistance in the morning for his bowlers. Interesting…

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12 January 2019 TURFFONTEIN

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