South Africa vs Sri Lanka - 1st Test Match Preview & Prediction

Aubrey Yates
February 14, 2019

In response to South Africa's collapse, Sri Lanka lost Lahiru Thirimanne, caught behind off Dale Steyn for nought, but Karunaratne batted confidently to be 28 not out at the close, while new cap Oshada Fernando went on the attack when Du Plessis turned to spin bowling as the light faded to finish on 17 not out.

Even so, South Africa's battery of fast bowlers are likely to test their largely inexperienced opponents with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries, a formula which has helped South Africa win their most recent six Test matches at home.

Temba Bavuma and Du Plessis rode out the early storm and gradually started to change the momentum in a 72-run partnership which was ended in the last over before lunch when Du Plessis was caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Rajitha for 35.

On-field umpires Aleem Dar and Richard Kettleborough combined to make three errors, one of them a freakish one when they refused a perfectly good decision review by the Sri Lankans.

Bavuma looked the most assured of the South African batsmen but was run out for 47 off 68 balls, with seven fours, when a straight drive by De Kock ricocheted off bowler Fernando's boot into the stumps at the bowler's end.

He was told he had taken too long and the decision was not sent to television umpire Ian Gould. Amla was hit on the pads by Vishwa Fernando, Dar ruled not out after an lbw appeal, but even though Karunaratne signaled for a decision review, Dar didn't refer the decision to the TV umpire. Scratch that, replays show that it was missing the leg stump.

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Keen viewers on social media platform Reddit captured one still shot from the broadcast which showed the Proteas' plans to remove opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.

Kettleborough also thought Amla wasn't out when he edged behind soon after, believing the catch hadn't carried to Kusal Mendis in the slips.

Quinton de Kock takes a catch. De Kock reviewed that decision, and it proved the ball came off his elbow, not bat or glove.

De Kock said a total of 235 was "a little under par", but he expected South Africa's bowlers to be effective on a still-green Kingsmead surface on day two.

Steyn had become South Africa's highest Test wicket taker, eclipsing the previous record set by Shaun Pollock with 421 wickets.

South Africa has won seven series in a row at home after sweeping Pakistan 3-0 last month, moving the Proteas to No. 2 in the rankings behind India.

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