Sri Lanka overwhelmed by South Africa fast bowlers
Sri Lanka's weakness against quality pace bowling overseas was exposed for the second time in three days on Sunday as South Africa won the opening Castle Lager/MTN Test match at Wanderers by a massive innings an 64 runs.
Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore had claimed his side were better prepared than at any time in his three year second tenure prior to this game, but that that did not translate into performance as the visitors were bowled out for 130 in just 41 overs.
South Africa dominated all three days of the Test, outplaying Sanath Jayasuriya's chastened side in every department. With the second Test to be played at Centurion on Friday, a venue that is also expected to assist fast bowlers, Sri Lanka look set to lose the series.
The tourists started the morning brightly enough, needing just 2.4 overs to wrap up the South African first innings for 386, but the top order capitulated against the new ball, losing four wickets before the luncheon interval.
Opener Russel Arnold started the innings disastrously, completing a pair when he was caught at second slip after wafting loosely at Makhaya Ntini's first ball - a woeful dismissal that will reopen the debate as to whether the 28-year-old left-hander has the technique to open in Test cricket.
Number three batsman Kumar Sangakkara (7) was unfortunate to see a fine leg glance spectacularly clasped one-handed by an airborne Mark Boucher. Mahela Jayawardene (1) fended off a devilish delivery from Shaun Pollock into the hands of short leg.
Jayasuriya, still struggling to come to terms with his new middle order role, was the second man to be dismissed for a duck when he dragged a Pollock delivery onto his leg stump, leaving Sri Lanka in desperate trouble on 25 for four.
Vice-captain Marvan Atapattu (43) and Hashan Tillakaratne (27) resisted for a while, easing Sri Lanka past their lowest Test total of 71 during a 52 run partnership for the fifth wicket, but Steve Elworthy then made further inroads soon after the break: Atapattu edging a catch into the slips and Hasantha Fernando falling lbw to complete a miserable pair on debut.
Chaminda Vaas held up the South Africans for 37 minutes with an entertaining 32 from 30 balls, hitting three fours, before pulling a short delivery from the lively Makhaya Ntini straight into the hands of Kirsten at mid-wicket.
Next over, Andrew Hall had Tillakaratne caught at extra cover with his warm-up delivery and then floored Muttiah Muralitharan with a painful blow to the groin. The off-spinner's agony was ended two balls later when he was clean bowled.
Hall sealed victory, South Africa's fourth consecutive win when he clean bowled Ruchira Perera, finishing with three wickets for just one run.
Earlier in the day, Muralitharan became the fourth highest wicket-taker in Test history when he trapped Hall lbw with the fifth ball of the day, moving past Richard Hadlee's 431 Test tally. He finished with 433 wickets when he trapped Elworthy in similar fashion in his following over.
Jacques Kallis extended his run without being dismissed to 909 minutes, a run that stretches back eight months to South Africa's third Test against Australia in March, before gloving a catch behind without adding to his overnight 75.