South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Centurion, 2nd day December 27, 2011

Spice the tonic for Sri Lanka

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second day of the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Durban

Woe of the day
Some people just keep putting their foot in their mouth but Morne Morkel keeps putting his in another, equally bothersome, place - over the line. After being brought on in the fourth over of the morning, to make use of a newish ball with Dale Steyn, Morkel could have made the breakthrough early on. Rangana Herath pulled a delivery from outside the offstump straight up in the air, offering Morkel what should have been his third wicket. As is customary in this series, the umpires checked for the no-ball and Morkel had overstepped the line by a fair distance and Herath lived on to bring up a spunky 30. Morkel had a better outing than in the previous two Tests, having been given the new ball, but his problems appear no closer to being solved.

Wicket of the day
Marchant de Lange became the eighth debutant to take a five-for this year when Herath top-edged a pull to Mark Boucher but he went one better than that seven balls later. After removing Chanaka Welegedara with an awkwardly rising ball that the left-hander fended to Hashim Amla at short leg, de Lange ended Sri Lanka's innings to notch up the best bowling figures by a debutant this year. Thilan Samaraweera was tiring after his century and responded to the full ball by holing out to deep cover. De Lange's 7 for 82 put him above R Ashwin, Doug Bracewell, James Pattinson, Vernon Philander, Patrick Cummins, Elias Sunny and Nathan Lyon, the other seven debutants who claimed five wickets in their first match in 2011.

Pouch of the day
The spicy chicken curry served at lunch seemed to fire up something in Sri Lanka's bellies as they came out after the interval breathing fire. They plucked three South African wickets for eight runs, the pick of them being the catch to dismiss Jacques Rudolph, who has still not managed a half-century since making his Test comeback. Rudolph said would try to be more selective but chose an atrocious shot to a short ball delivered on leg stump. He pulled and Chanaka Welegedara dived forward to scoop the chance in style.

Defiance of the day
With South Africa needing 15 runs to avoid the follow-on after a spectacular collapse, Dale Steyn got the bit between his teeth and showed the rest of the batsmen how to do it. When Herath fired in a flighted one, he got under it and heaved it over cow corner. It was the most forceful shot in a South African effort that wilted on a warm afternoon in Durban.

Cheers of the day
A steadfast Dale Steyn and determined Imran Tahir shared in a 26-run 10th wicket stand and the shot that defined their efforts came three balls before Tahir was stumped. Steyn, who played with the composure that the rest of the order lacked, played a neat shot off his pads behind square and called for two runs to take South Africa past the follow-on target. The Kingsmead crowd, who had dwindled from the 10,000 who attended day one, were at their loudest, cheering the run as though it was a century and egging the tail on.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    This is our moment in SA, pls don't ruin it. and no rain pls..should bat patiently

  • manjula on December 28, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    So, who is forecast going to save? Kepler has no where to run ... and all other SA commentators don't let the wagon jump first :-P

  • ridma on December 27, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    this is an extremely good batting pitch. not much bounce. not much spin. technically a batting paradise. we cannot expect much of a pitch deterioration for the fourth innings. and since weather forecast is not a good one slight drizzles may cause the loose of the grip for spinners.remember South Africa have a very strong batting line up.if smith, amla, de villiers and rest fired up even 450 is a easy chase on their home condition. Since there are plenty of time left they should try to add at lest 400+ for the second innings

  • Stevie on December 27, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    Go Sri Lanka!! What amazing character to fight like this!!

  • Jonathan on December 27, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    Well done Sri Lanka! Seems like being paid has helped their performance! But really shocking performance from South Africa. They are dearly missing a grindstone in the Jonathan Trott/Thilan Samaraweera type of form. Also, they need to follow one simple principal to batting "If the ball is on the stumps, play. If it is not, leave". de Villiers played a poor stroke, as so did Ashwell Prince's despicable reverse-sweep.

    Overall, it was an excellent display of spin and pace bowling from Sri Lanka.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    Srilankans are in good position to win this match and level the series, batters must put another 350 runs on the board Sanga & co must bat till 4th day first session. All the best Lanka.

  • Ramesh on December 27, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Where is Kepler wessels now? SA narrowly missing a follow on? Where are those expert comments SL cannot come back at all...and this is even without Mahela and Sanga not scoring..

  • Nikhil on December 27, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    How times've changed!. What was once an impregnable fortress to breach in SA, for a win is slowly becoming a routine feature. India did it twice, WI did it in 2007, SL are on the verge of a resounding win & in all probability, NZ will do it sooner with a bowler like Bracewell.

  • Ramakrishna on December 27, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    cannot believe eh Firdose..SL is no chicken (curry)..

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    SL need another 250 runs at least...Dilshan`s wkt ruined a great day for Sri Lanksa

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