South Africa Start Well in Opening Test against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth

December 27 14:18 2016

du-plNew Delhi, Tuesday, December 27 – The first Test between Sri Lanka and Proteas began a day ago at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. Angelo Mathews-led side are on tour of South Africa for a bit long time as they are to contest in three Tests, three T20 Internationals and five One Day International matches. Their stint in South Africa is to take level of enthusiasm at peak in view of the fact that a lot of cricket is to be played now and early next month.

Given that powerhouses gear up for the ongoing and upcoming matches, the motto is nothing else but to add another feather in their caps. The unfamiliar condition of South African soils is going to examine abilities of the touring side in all possible manners whether they could sustain and shine or not. Having Jean-Paul Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla in the team and Wayne Parnell, George Linde, and Theunis de Bruyn on bench, Faf du Plessis decided to bat first post winning the toss.

Sri Lanka Playing XI included Kaushal Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath. Those in extra were Upul Tharanga, Dilruwan Perera, Vikum Sanjaya and Lahiru Kumara. As far as scoring pattern of the venue is to be told then average first inning score is 307, while average second inning score is 241. More to the point, average 3rd inning score is 212, whereas average fourth inning score is 155. The highest total scored on this ground is 549 attained by Australia for the loss of seven wickets in 117 overs in opposition to the home squad. In contrast, the lowest total is 30 runs. This score belongs to RSA vs. England, who ended innings of the hosts in 18.4 overs. 271 is the highest chased in 93.3 overs by Australian team vs. Proteas. Lowest defended at the same venue is 130 by English team in opposition to South Africa.

Pocketing significant amount of runs and gaining wickets at different time intervals is highly imperative for the contesting parties. This makes contest reach an exciting stage, letting the audience go ecstatic post watching the matches. Interest in Test series increases as well thanks to changing mood of the pitch. Cricketers even get to learn a lesson of a lifetime for the reason that experience sometimes count more than everything. The home side had a decent start a day ago, totaling 267 runs in 90 overs, losing six wickets. It can be said that despite losing the toss, Mathews guided his men in the right way. He accepted the invitation to field first and made optimal use of it as it is not an easy task to let South Africa feel pressure. Even though stress wasn’t there due to an opening partnership of 104 runs between Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar, focus was on piling up considerable runs.

The much sought breakthrough was provided by Lakmal when Chandimal took a catch when Cook was trying to score in speed. He scored 59 runs facing 125 balls. His innings consisted of seven boundaries. Same combination of bowler and fielder made Elgar go back to the dressing room when he was five runs away from pocketing a fifty. The opener struck five 4s. Hashim Amla also threw his wicket to Lakmal and this time again it was Chandimal who did not make any mistake in reaching under the ball before it hit the ground. 20 runs (4 x 2) were total contribution by Amla. The South African innings was soon stabilized and brought on track by Jean-Paul Duminy and Faf du Plessis. Duminy showed some excellent play while being on the crease and scored 63 runs off 95 balls, inclusive of ten fours before being lbw by Herath.

Temba Bavuma was the next man to arrive but he couldn’t score much as he failed to understand how to play a delivery by Herath. This made him depart at 3 runs. South African skipper Plessis, on the other hand, made sure to keep on accumulating runs. Lakmal brought his stint of 37 runs, which comprised five boundaries. When play of Monday ended, Quinton de Kock scored 25 runs off 40 balls, with the help of three boundaries and Vernon Philander at 6 runs (4 x 1). They both are to resume play today. Nine extras were bowled by Sri Lanka. Here is to describe that remaining four wickets will be eyed today. If wickets are thrown easily on Tuesday, possibility of taking South Africa to a strong spot will be finished. Maharaj, Rabada and Kyle Abbott are yet to bat. The tourists will look forward to start batting as early as possible and this will be fulfilled if Sri Lankan bowlers end innings of Proteas.

Lakmal enjoyed four-wicket haul. Two wickets were grabbed by Herath. Nuwan Pradeep, Angelo Mathews, Dushmantha Chameera and Dhananjaya de Silva did not get any wicket. It will be interesting to watch whether new day brings anything fresh for the bowlers striving for wickets or not. Here is to mention that home conditions are indubitably an added advantage for Proteas, who are seeing good support from the crowd. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would like to make their records in the overseas better but this is going to ask for devoted efforts. Any space given to South African Playing XI will easily let them capitalize on the opportunity. Not to forget that an interesting clash may be seen today between the hosts and guests during the ongoing series. The squads are likely to pour more than 100 per cent efforts to improve in all departments of cricket be it fielding, bowling and batting.

Both mental and physical fitness will be crucial as well since stress increases when strong competitors are all set for the fight between bat and ball. Sri Lankan tour of South Africa is not going to be an easy one provided home support for du Plessis’ men. Given that the tour is to end on February 10, a lot of action remains. In fact, action has just begun. Ongoing series between Proteas and Sri Lanka is catching the eyeballs already. Focus is on doing well and take lead in 3-match Test series. In the nutshell, the entertainment quotient is to soar further. Cricket fans are excited to catch the action live whenever possible. The big crowd in stadiums across different countries is a sign that craze for cricket would in all probability never dip. As of now, the audience is excited to back their favorite teams and turn up in impressive numbers to show great support. Play of Day 2 will closely be watched too.

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