South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day January 4, 2012

South Africa well placed after batsmen's day

34

Stumps Sri Lanka 149 for 2 (Sangakkara 35*, Jayawardene 7*) trail South Africa 580 for 4 (Kallis 224, de Villiers 160*, Petersen 109) by 431 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

There was a sense of déjà vu as the action unfolded on the second day at Newlands, before Graeme Smith ended Sri Lanka's agony with an aggressive declaration that came 30 minutes before tea. Jacques Kallis was balletic in the morning, and AB de Villiers ballistic after lunch to leave Sri Lanka facing for a nightmarish day, reminiscent of the one India had endured a few hours earlier in a different continent. However, Smith's move provided respite, as he gambled for more time at the cost of some cheap runs. Sri Lanka then produced fireworks of their own, in equal parts vindicating and undermining the declaration.

Until then, it was a day for relentless pursuit of batting milestones. Like Michael Clarke in Sydney, Kallis strolled inevitably to a double-century in front of his home crowd. Like in Centurion in 2010, he had de Villiers for company when he got to the landmark. Back then, de Villiers had smashed the fastest century by a South African. This time he was more sedate in reaching 100, but unleashed mayhem thereafter, scoring his last 60 runs off only 29 balls. South Africa plundered 87 off the last 10 overs of their innings, with Jacques Rudolph also chiming in with a half-century before Smith signalled the ceasefire.

Regardless of the perilous position, Dilshan went for his shots from the outset. Along with the more circumspect Lahiru Thirimanne, he endured more edges and misses in the eight-over passage leading up to tea than his bowlers had produced in the 49 overs they bowled in the day. The pitch had pace and bounce, but the lack of sideways movement allowed Dilshan to hit through the line. He smoked Morne Morkel's first ball after the break through cover before flicking him for four more.

Soon Dilshan paraded his assortment of carves, jabs, and heaves to motor Sri Lanka past 50 in the 13th over. Thirimanne escaped when de Villiers backed away from going for a high-flying edge over the slips, but Morkel had his man two balls later with pure pace. Dilshan's impetuosity gave South Africa a beachhead into the middle order, and Mahela Jayawardene endured a couple of scares against Imran Tahir with stumps in sight. But Kumar Sangakkara's fluent driving suggested the visitors were set to enjoy the best batting conditions of the tour well into the third day.

In all the second day yielded 382 for 3, and the tone was set early when five of the first 12 balls of the morning sped to the boundary. Two of them were outside edges from de Villiers, but the other three were vintage Kallis strokes, unfurled seemingly for the benefit of those who may have missed the first day's action - the sumptuous cover drive, the violent pull, and the coaxed on-drive that gained speed as it rolled away. South Africa's momentum never slackened from there on, and their run-rate was well over four by the time they declared.

Sri Lanka weren't alert enough to capitalise when the chances came. Dhammika Prasad got Kallis to edge one that moved away, but Jayawardene clanged it at second slip. That was in the third over of the day, and by the time the next opportunity came, Sri Lanka had just one fly slip. Angelo Mathews produced a nifty legcutter that reared up and took Kallis' edge, but it was out of Jayawardene's range.

Sri Lanka managed only two maidens in the day. Chanaka Welegedara was so pleasantly surprised by the first, that he smiled. Kallis kept accumulating, before a robust cut and another punch through mid-on took him through the 190s. He passed 200 by chopping Perera through point. Just as murmurs of the first 300 by a South African batsman began to do the rounds, Kallis lost his concentration and gifted Rangana Herath his wicket.

His exit brought no respite, and instead heralded a passage of mind-boggling innovation from de Villiers. More than once, he brazenly opened the face to steer balls on purpose into the gap between slip and gully. After reaching 100, he launched Welegedara expansively over mid-off before flapping a high full toss to fine-leg for four. The spinners had no chance, with Dilshan flying over long-on for successive sixes, and Herath being carved from a foot outside leg stump through sweeper-cover. Rudolph looked at home in the middle order, guiding through gully efficiently and lashing Herath through square leg. South Africa's audacity reached a new high when both batsmen reverse-swept boundaries against the spin from the leg stump line, but Smith outdid them with the timing of his declaration. Despite Sri Lanka's encouraging riposte, his side was firmly in control at stumps.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nimal183 on January 5, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    "SA well placed after batsmen's day" Well SL have to prove them wrong again... only Sanga, Mahela, Samara can do it... Go on lions prove them wrong AGAIN....

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    fabouloious innnigs .....world classs& shuting a critices mouth heheheh.....loping his batting classss......

  • napster82 on January 5, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Now everybody will see that it is not SA fault that they played bad in the 2nd test..it is because of the external pressure to make the series competitive to attract TV audiences so as to not make a loss. think SA will come good in this test match to record an innings win.

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Now SL need to fight out from this, in order to draw this test. I hope at least Mahela and Sanga should bat and take SL to safe position.You can see all the SL bashers away from this sight since they are in serious trouble in AUS. Otherwise you will see hunders of comments against SL from these peoples. Anyway all the best SL.

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Only six wickets have fallen in two days so far, so SA will be hoping the pitch deteriorates, and SL the opposite. Smith's game plan with the bold declaration is probably to bat a second time (unless follow-on margin is really huge, which is unlikely), and have SL facing Tahir on a hopefully wearing pitch on the 4th and 5th days.

  • on January 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Our failures are not beuause of players. Most of them do the best what they can. It's the Selectors, Coaches and Physios who ruin things for SL. What's the use of their Decades of years of experience ? Thay cannot find proper bowlers for proper formats, poor selections in Batsmen, Wicket keepers as well. How can we expect good results from this bunch .?

  • on January 5, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    @bmike i totally agree with you.Why the hell are these commentators so damn biased? only russel seems to be the fair person out their even though hes an SL supporter. I dont think People like wessels know how to commentate in a match.Please choose some suitable commentators next time for these kind of series like Tony Greig

  • stormy16 on January 5, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    @ Miranda - your on to something here but I still cant put a finger on it. Get this feeling that given SL are struggling of late, the knives are out. This treatment is usually for a team that has dominated and has since fallen which SL didnt but has fallen. I can only put it down to the fact people were uncomfortable with SL being ranked that high up the rankings for a long time despite not really having a great team or the home dominance factor. It could be partly because SL have been poor for a while lately and the bowling in this test has been pathetic. Mind you looking at the worlds best pace bowling unit going for over 4 an over puts things in perspective. I dont have a problem with the heading - SA are well placed and miles ahead of the game and SL have to bat the whole day to get a stage of avoiding the follow on. For me Smith declared too early - he was in a position to add another hundred runs without losing too much time which is what I would have done.

  • on January 5, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    win or loose sri lanka has done a good job in SA, every one is talking of muraly vass but they did not win a match in SA, dilli did,,so if we can drow this one it whoud be excelent,,, this pitch is still very good to batt and hope every one will chip in specialy our VC, he got the talant and just hope he got the temproment for a 100,, about the pitch if you see all the streat drives in this match you will see its a excelent pitch,,,,

  • on January 5, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    oh no Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan might loose his number one spot at no1 Test all rounder to Kallis! What a shocker! lol

  • nimal183 on January 5, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    "SA well placed after batsmen's day" Well SL have to prove them wrong again... only Sanga, Mahela, Samara can do it... Go on lions prove them wrong AGAIN....

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    fabouloious innnigs .....world classs& shuting a critices mouth heheheh.....loping his batting classss......

  • napster82 on January 5, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Now everybody will see that it is not SA fault that they played bad in the 2nd test..it is because of the external pressure to make the series competitive to attract TV audiences so as to not make a loss. think SA will come good in this test match to record an innings win.

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Now SL need to fight out from this, in order to draw this test. I hope at least Mahela and Sanga should bat and take SL to safe position.You can see all the SL bashers away from this sight since they are in serious trouble in AUS. Otherwise you will see hunders of comments against SL from these peoples. Anyway all the best SL.

  • on January 5, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Only six wickets have fallen in two days so far, so SA will be hoping the pitch deteriorates, and SL the opposite. Smith's game plan with the bold declaration is probably to bat a second time (unless follow-on margin is really huge, which is unlikely), and have SL facing Tahir on a hopefully wearing pitch on the 4th and 5th days.

  • on January 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Our failures are not beuause of players. Most of them do the best what they can. It's the Selectors, Coaches and Physios who ruin things for SL. What's the use of their Decades of years of experience ? Thay cannot find proper bowlers for proper formats, poor selections in Batsmen, Wicket keepers as well. How can we expect good results from this bunch .?

  • on January 5, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    @bmike i totally agree with you.Why the hell are these commentators so damn biased? only russel seems to be the fair person out their even though hes an SL supporter. I dont think People like wessels know how to commentate in a match.Please choose some suitable commentators next time for these kind of series like Tony Greig

  • stormy16 on January 5, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    @ Miranda - your on to something here but I still cant put a finger on it. Get this feeling that given SL are struggling of late, the knives are out. This treatment is usually for a team that has dominated and has since fallen which SL didnt but has fallen. I can only put it down to the fact people were uncomfortable with SL being ranked that high up the rankings for a long time despite not really having a great team or the home dominance factor. It could be partly because SL have been poor for a while lately and the bowling in this test has been pathetic. Mind you looking at the worlds best pace bowling unit going for over 4 an over puts things in perspective. I dont have a problem with the heading - SA are well placed and miles ahead of the game and SL have to bat the whole day to get a stage of avoiding the follow on. For me Smith declared too early - he was in a position to add another hundred runs without losing too much time which is what I would have done.

  • on January 5, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    win or loose sri lanka has done a good job in SA, every one is talking of muraly vass but they did not win a match in SA, dilli did,,so if we can drow this one it whoud be excelent,,, this pitch is still very good to batt and hope every one will chip in specialy our VC, he got the talant and just hope he got the temproment for a 100,, about the pitch if you see all the streat drives in this match you will see its a excelent pitch,,,,

  • on January 5, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    oh no Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan might loose his number one spot at no1 Test all rounder to Kallis! What a shocker! lol

  • Morfi on January 5, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    It is interesting how the south african batting is to take credit and the sri lankan bowling to take the blame for the first 2 days' score. But one cant help think that had this been a match played in the sub-continent with similar scores, people would be criticising the pitch and only the pitch!!....

  • bMike on January 5, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    There is no doubt that South Africa is one of the best teams in the world. Sri Lanka was also in number 2 position in ICC test rankings for a while. So SL is also not a bad team though they didn't play well in last 8 months because of a strange reason. SA lost to SL 2-0 in test series & 5-0 ODI series when they toured SL last time. The way SL now playing in SA is far better than that. SL are also runners up in last two world cups and they also have ICC number 1 test batsman. But I can't believe how some commentators overrate SA while underestimating SL's performances so badly.

  • on January 5, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    gotta love how the curator has created a dead pitch for test cricket. not saying the Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well at all but for a test team to score 540 odd runs for the loss of 4 wickets just goes on to show this pitch does not offer much for the bowlers. Hope the SL batsman can buckle down and get these runs. small targets would be the key . Jayawardena needs to score with sanga.first session would give us a indication as to what to expect from the lankan batsman.

  • Sinhaya on January 5, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    Pitch is very placid and I just cant see why the Lankans cant score 450 or so by close of play. If Lankans manage 450, then we are in safe zone.

  • Ameega on January 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Great cricket by SAffers, and a bad decision by GS to declare (may be to match with his counterpart's bold decision to bat first). @ Cricinfo, keep on having headings to attract majority of your traffic, but not a few SL fans, than been reasonable and unbiased.

  • on January 4, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    I just can't understand why Dilshan chose to field instead of taking the advantage of this wicket early...

  • Penny71 on January 4, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    I think the whole outcome of this match now depends on how well Sanga and Mahela take on the challenge. There is only 2 possibilities for this match, a draw or SA win. So if there is not at least 3 centuries or 1 double & 1 century for SL, it is in SA hands. We need an overdue innings from Mahela, just as he writes here. Sanga looks solid and a double will boost his no 1 ranking. Both have experience and patience and now it's time to deliver the goods for a great batting pitch.

    SL pace bowling looks pretty orninary and specially Perera is totally useless. None of these bolwers are thinking like the tacticle genious Vaas. May be Vaas need to give these guys bowling lessons and tactics. Undoutably Vaas is the most intelligent pace bowler SL has ever produced. Current attack in this match looks really like a Side B team.

  • on January 4, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    Hats off for Miranda for ur comment. Whoever the winners, the articles and commentaries should be balanced. Good luck SL!

  • suve on January 4, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    The first 10 - 15 Overs on the 3rd day will be very important as it will decide what happens in the test match. If SA get a couple of wickets they will be on top but if Sanga and Mahela survive that period, they will bat for a long time. I think it was a bigger shock when Smith declared only on 580/4 than Dilshan electing to bowl first. South Africa could have got around 650 runs and let SL bat for about 15 overs in the last session.

  • nimal183 on January 4, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    Go on Sanga & Mahela break your ow record in parnership.... may be we can even win the match!!!! good luck !!

  • gunnerr4life on January 4, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    still wondering why Graeme Smith declared so early when they had a great chance to take further lead and comfortably beat Srilanka by an innings !

  • on January 4, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    RSA for the win then, Liefe?

  • ShehanJay on January 4, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    Sri Lanka after the end of day 2 might be well placed. But the problem is , if Sangakara and Mahela go cheaply, who will build a score apart from Samaraweera? Let's see what happens on day 3...

  • on January 4, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    I think the wicket hasn't enough pace & movement. SA should have prepared a much fast And bouncy track for Srilanka because they need to win the series very badly. I 'm not sure whether they will be able to bowled srilanka out twice or not, but i wished them best of luck...........

  • on January 4, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Last year against India, Smith left the 2nd innings decleration way to late to get a result, the corresponding match this year he seems to have declared to early. Hope SA go on to win, but think Smith's declerations are not well considered!

  • on January 4, 2012, 18:29 GMT

    If the pitch holds up as appears to be the case, SA may find it difficult to take the necessary 20 wickets. There is also the weather to consider, although the forecast looks good at this point. Should Smith have let AB get to a likely double hundred in quick time and make the target tougher for SL, or did he make the right decision to have a go at SL's batsmen as early as possible (paraphrasing Nitin here)? In Sanga and Mahela, SL have two great batsmen. If they get in the groove, they could post very high scores. SA' bowling attack will have to up their game and keep it there, or as a Saffer, I fear a drawn match and series on the horizon.

  • WPDDESILVA on January 4, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Sri Lanka will also post a mammoth score but not as huge as 580, I reckon SL will get to around 400 +. This surely got draw written all over it. Double for Sanga I hope!

  • yorkslanka on January 4, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    well batted by the Proteas, Kallis and also AbV were both superb...we should have held onto our chances but it was their day. Good opening stand from our openers and the wicket seems to be lacking in swing and slowing down so that should aid our batsmen tomorrow..hopefully we can somewhere near their total and get them to bat again and use up more time in the game...Mahela is due a big one so this is his time to deliver...come on sri lanka...

  • jonnybtestmatch on January 4, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    SA should have attacked with the same intent in Durban and the series would have been 3-0. Kallis showed he is murderous of loose bowling and De Villiers played an effective but restrained knock. Think Sri Lankan bowlers still have much work to do if they are to compete consistently in Test Series. SL can save this game if the two big guns can bat for a couple of session and a half tomorrow and the lower middle order also contribute. Really think that if SL can achieve this they deserve the title as they mentally toughest side of all those in sub continent. SL have a lot more fighting spirit than India, and with a bowling attack, can prosper once more.

  • Micgyver on January 4, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    As a full blooded Aussie,to me i love to see Sth Africa kick butt!They have always been in the top 3/4 test teams since their re-admission in 92.They are an awesome sporting nation that consistantly provides brilliant cricketers.

  • IanJF on January 4, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Pressure is actually on SAF to win a home series @ home after 2008 vs Bangladesh.. what a pity ! SAFers must be kidding if they think SL is going to fold before a 450+ score. Game on I think, Day 4 and 5 could be a cracker if the wicket starts to turn..

  • on January 4, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Sri lanka still aren't out of the game ..Day 3 Is normally the best day to bat in any surface so i cant see why we cant score 300+runs tomorrow and get closer to SA's total.Who knows if Sri lanka can bundle out SA cheaply in the second innings this match might have a sri lankan victory on the cards

  • on January 4, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Sometimes this head line gives me a laugh or two. In boxing day it goes something like "SL need a X'mas miracle. and now when SL 149 for 2 it says "SA well placed on batting day" Does it mean tomorrow going to be bowlers day or it has to be according to the article? I don't see why it's always one sided article whenever SL plays against SA, ENG, NZ, WI & OC God only knows. Adieu!

  • on January 4, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    Mahela needs to stand up & save Sri Lanka..If we can draw the series that`ll be great since SA lost 2-0 in Tests & 5-0 in ODIs they toured Sri Lanka last time !

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  • on January 4, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    Mahela needs to stand up & save Sri Lanka..If we can draw the series that`ll be great since SA lost 2-0 in Tests & 5-0 in ODIs they toured Sri Lanka last time !

  • on January 4, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Sometimes this head line gives me a laugh or two. In boxing day it goes something like "SL need a X'mas miracle. and now when SL 149 for 2 it says "SA well placed on batting day" Does it mean tomorrow going to be bowlers day or it has to be according to the article? I don't see why it's always one sided article whenever SL plays against SA, ENG, NZ, WI & OC God only knows. Adieu!

  • on January 4, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Sri lanka still aren't out of the game ..Day 3 Is normally the best day to bat in any surface so i cant see why we cant score 300+runs tomorrow and get closer to SA's total.Who knows if Sri lanka can bundle out SA cheaply in the second innings this match might have a sri lankan victory on the cards

  • IanJF on January 4, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Pressure is actually on SAF to win a home series @ home after 2008 vs Bangladesh.. what a pity ! SAFers must be kidding if they think SL is going to fold before a 450+ score. Game on I think, Day 4 and 5 could be a cracker if the wicket starts to turn..

  • Micgyver on January 4, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    As a full blooded Aussie,to me i love to see Sth Africa kick butt!They have always been in the top 3/4 test teams since their re-admission in 92.They are an awesome sporting nation that consistantly provides brilliant cricketers.

  • jonnybtestmatch on January 4, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    SA should have attacked with the same intent in Durban and the series would have been 3-0. Kallis showed he is murderous of loose bowling and De Villiers played an effective but restrained knock. Think Sri Lankan bowlers still have much work to do if they are to compete consistently in Test Series. SL can save this game if the two big guns can bat for a couple of session and a half tomorrow and the lower middle order also contribute. Really think that if SL can achieve this they deserve the title as they mentally toughest side of all those in sub continent. SL have a lot more fighting spirit than India, and with a bowling attack, can prosper once more.

  • yorkslanka on January 4, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    well batted by the Proteas, Kallis and also AbV were both superb...we should have held onto our chances but it was their day. Good opening stand from our openers and the wicket seems to be lacking in swing and slowing down so that should aid our batsmen tomorrow..hopefully we can somewhere near their total and get them to bat again and use up more time in the game...Mahela is due a big one so this is his time to deliver...come on sri lanka...

  • WPDDESILVA on January 4, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Sri Lanka will also post a mammoth score but not as huge as 580, I reckon SL will get to around 400 +. This surely got draw written all over it. Double for Sanga I hope!

  • on January 4, 2012, 18:29 GMT

    If the pitch holds up as appears to be the case, SA may find it difficult to take the necessary 20 wickets. There is also the weather to consider, although the forecast looks good at this point. Should Smith have let AB get to a likely double hundred in quick time and make the target tougher for SL, or did he make the right decision to have a go at SL's batsmen as early as possible (paraphrasing Nitin here)? In Sanga and Mahela, SL have two great batsmen. If they get in the groove, they could post very high scores. SA' bowling attack will have to up their game and keep it there, or as a Saffer, I fear a drawn match and series on the horizon.

  • on January 4, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Last year against India, Smith left the 2nd innings decleration way to late to get a result, the corresponding match this year he seems to have declared to early. Hope SA go on to win, but think Smith's declerations are not well considered!