Cape Town, South Africa (AP) — Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada grabbed two wickets apiece on Wednesday to set South Africa on the road to victory over Sri Lanka in the second test at Newlands.
After South Africa set Sri Lanka a mammoth 507 to win, Philander took 2-34 and Rabada claimed 2-22 before Sri Lanka reached stumps on the third day on 130-4.
It took an unbroken partnership of 61 for the fifth wicket between captain Angelo Mathews and vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal to save Sri Lanka from an embarrassing three-day defeat, as they batted out the final hour of the day.
“I know that our approach as Sri Lankans back home is to attack the ball and put pressure on the bowlers, but here sometimes a leave or a good defensive stroke can be a positive way of showing aggression,” Sri Lanka opener Kaushal Silva said.
“I thought we didn’t do that in the first innings. Now ‘Chandi’ and Angelo are batting quite well so hopefully they can put up a good score tomorrow.”
South Africa’s dominance in the game was set up on day two when Quinton de Kock scored his third test century and Philander and Rabada shared eight wickets to bowl Sri Lanka out for 110.
South Africa began the third day on 35-0 in their second innings, and openers Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook (30) extended their opening stand to 65 before Cook was caught at slip off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal.
The Sri Lankan paceman struck later in the same over to dismiss Hashim Amla for a duck, extending Amla’s run without a half-century to 10 innings.
Elgar, whose 129 set up South Africa’s first-innings total of 392, was next to go when he fell to Rangana Herath for 55, while JP Duminy (30) was trapped lbw by Lakmal on the stroke of lunch.
After the break, Temba Bavuma was run out without scoring but Faf du Plessis scored a brisk 41 and Quinton de Kock added 29 from just 24 deliveries.
Du Plessis became Lakmal’s fourth victim when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal, while De Kock fell in the same fashion to Lahiru Kumara.
Keshav Maharaj and Philander then put on an unbroken 32 for the eighth wicket to push the lead past 500, at which point Du Plessis declared with 47 overs remaining in the day, leaving Lakmal with figures of 4-69.
Philander made the initial inroads into the Sri Lankan line-up when he bowled Dimuth Karunaratne shortly before tea and then dismissed Kusal Mendis after the break.
Rabada followed up by having Silva (29) caught at short leg and Dhananjaya de Silva (22) trapped lbw, although replays suggested that the delivery to De Silva was missing the stumps.
“They are not giving many loose balls at all,” Silva said of South Africa’s seamers. “These conditions help them as well.
“With their height you get the bounce, and they are more accurate in terms of their lengths. So I think we have to be very patient when we bat and take them to two or three spells. Then, when they get tired, we have the opportunity to score runs.”
South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0.