South Africa may have lost the toss once again in Johannesburg. Sri Lanka always have the first day when it comes to winning tosses. And chose to bat first.
But it does not mean it can be a advantage guaranteed. Sri Lanka quickly lost five wickets all morning. Despite a promising display from Opener Kusal Perera on 60. They unfortunately mistimed these shots with little movement.
Thus the Proteas used the ball very well thanks to the bowling lineup. You see Anrich Nortje & Lungi Ngidi opening the spell. Ngidi may not have picked up anything. Nortje & all-rounder Wiaan Mulder split the contribution. Not just the Sri Lankan opening & Top order. But also beginning to target the middle order. Sri Lanka 84-5 at lunch. The opposition has Niroshan Dickwella still in there. They have two decent all-rounders up next.
Sri Lanka hope they can turn this around after a 40-min break. But Dickwella instead just reached for the ball after being caught on 7. The same goes to Dasun Shanaka as well. Waninidu Hasaranga & Dushmantha Chameera have scored quickfire runs. They both unfortunately lack support to stop their Top 6 batting collapse. And Anrich Nortje finished his 6fer/56 when Sri Lanka all out for 157. Plus a late wicket from Lutho Sipamla to end Hasaranga’s batting stint on 29. Just at the right time before tea & end of the 1st innings afterwards. Sipamla is carefully adjusting to life at Test level.
He will eventually be the first choice bowler in all 3 formats. But glad Sipamla is bowling when the tail end is such a basic target. And hold them accountable.
It happened on occasions on his debut. He needs to get used it more before turning up the ante. That would be targeting the Top 6 batsman. They are very dedicated with this skill. I am sure Sipamla can hammer it. So the Proteas does not need to rely too much on Kagiso Rabada. Some hoped KG to come back but SA chose not to rush his recovery.
I can say the same bright words for Wiaan Mulder as well. He came up as the first back up for Ngidi & Nortje. Wiaan bowled decent balls all AM. Look at the line there when the speed flows to complete the wicket he wants. It is incredible to see this young all-rounder living his potential. He has started to do so last test. Despite not playing this format at all for two years. We will see if he can fire up with the bat. And potentially get his maiden Test half-ton.
South Africa now have their turn with the bat. Not at the start of Day 1. But not long after the 3rd & final session. Aiden Markram unfortunately did not move at all. And just edged it for 5 when Asitha Fernando got his first Test scalp. The home team regardless moved on without Aiden. Dean Elgar batted gently with the simple shots on display. He is on 92 not out after Dean got his half-ton. Getting his 100 has to come his way. Nervous 90s is one thing Dean must overcome tomorrow.
Rassie Van Der Dussen on the other hand is not too bad. He did well to back up Dean. It is always important when it comes to partnerships. Rassie also kept it down low with his shot selection too. He leaves Day 1 with 40 not out. That leaves South Africa 148-1. And trails by 9 runs.
The home team needs to keep batting that way. SA kept the Sri Lankan bowlers quiet for most of the 3rd session. They got lots of time Monday AM. Dean hopes to get his 100 this time. So would Rassie with his 2nd Test 50. And have a shot towards a maiden test ton. Add another 200-250 runs to declare. Before they get the chance to wrap up the 2nd Test. Then get the series trophy back where it belongs.
Sri Lanka need to show something with the line and pace tomorrow. Their frontline bowlers should learn what the SA quicks done earlier. I know injuries taken their toll & a few inexperienced ones come in. But there is no doubt they are young. We saw Asitha Fernando earn his maiden Test wicket. He & his fellow seamers got to unleash the speed. And target these stumps to make the batsman defend. It will add pressure as it goes. Then there goes your wicket with a catch/lbw/bowled.