Sri Lanka tour of South Africa, 1st Test: South Africa v Sri Lanka at Centurion, Dec 15-17, 2011
South Africa won by an innings and 81 runs
15,16,17 December 2011 (5-day match)
  • Overs 0-50

All set then for the start. The sun is out in its glory now, and Dilshan and Paranavitana won't mind that at all. The latter trots out sporting a jumper, Dilshan walks in more contemplatively. The fielders are already out there. Steyn has the ball, three slips and a gully, forward short leg all in force. Over the stumps to Tharanga.

"I think I'm developing Boucher-titas. Why oh why did they not try to ease a new keeper into the side during a relatively low-key series?" Interesting disease that, Spike!

10.15 am The weather is partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. Sri Lanka won't find this easy - the bounce and seam in South Africa has always been a problem for them, but that said, they haven't played a Test here in ages. Plenty will depend on Dilshan, Sanga and Mahela. Meanwhile, Firdose says the skies are clearing up and it is getting warmer. All set for a full day, one hopes.

Toss: South Africa have won the toss and chosen to bowl on a green pitch. Dilshan said he would have bowled as well, obviously. Kumar Sangakkara is fit so that's a boost for Sri Lanka. South Africa are unchanged from the side that squared 1-1 against Aus, so Alviro Peterson and Marchant de Lange miss out, as expected. Boy, is this pitch green or what! Get the cows out! Read more about it here. Andrew McGlashan's match preview is here. As most of you will be knowing, Sri Lanka have never won a Test in this country.

Mark Kidger: "Morning Nitin. Interesting match and series. Sri Lanka put up far more resistance in England than India did, but lost at home to Australia. You would back South Africa to win this series by whitewash, but then they seem to have trouble closing out series even when palpably superior, as they were against Australia recently. My money would be on South Africa, but you can never rule out an attack of the yips for them and an unexpected defeat. Still, if the pitch today is as green as you are saying and South Africa bowl anything like, this may be a short match: the groundsman was looking for a finish on Day 4."

Firdose Moonda lets us know this: SuperSport Park is celebrating its 25th birthday, so there a whole bunch of giveaways and specials stuff happening. The first 1000 spectators ony pay R 25 for their tickets, for a start. That sure sounds like fun!

This is South Africa's XI - 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Jacques Rudolph, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Ashwell Prince, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

Welcome to the lovely ground at Centurion. The weather is overcast, but there's no rain in the air and we are in for a timely start.

0.1

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, pitched on a length wide of off stump to start the series, Paranavitana plays inside the line and lets it buzz by.

Since typing time is precious, I shall refer to the left hander as Tharanga. Not to be confused by Upul Tharanga.

0.2

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, good carry there. Steyn lands it well short of a length and down the leg side. Tharanga stays out of the way.

0.3

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, through him at 136 kph. Steyn angles this across just outside off and gets it to straighten down the line. Tharanga leans forward and defends inside the line. The bat is very close to the pad, but neither is in line with the ball. Close to an edge there ...

0.4

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, beaten again outside off. Tharanga is diffident in his forward press, doesn't really get anywhere and feels for a ball that straightens from outside off. The ball skids past the outside edge.

0.5

Steyn to Paranavitana, 1 leg bye, and Sri Lanka are away. Angling into the pads, Tharanga tucks it fine to fine leg for a single.

Over to kamikaze captain Dilshan.

0.6

Steyn to Dilshan, no run, he starts with a leave outside off as Steyn probes away outside off stump, back of a length. This pitch has more carry than all the pitches in Sri Lanka put together.

End of over 1 (1 run, maiden) Sri Lanka 1/0

    • TM Dilshan 0 (1b)
    • NT Paranavitana 0 (5b)
    • DW Steyn 1-1-0-0

Vrij asks an important question. "Steyn & Morkel failed to capitalise after having the Ozzies 22/9. Will they make amends today?" There are more people watching today, than we had on the final day of that nerve-shredding second Test between Aus and SA. That isn't saying much, though. Here's Vernon.

1.1

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, 123 kph, good old loosener from Vernon. Russel Arnold reckons it was a slower ball. it wobbled away prodigiously across the left hander, who stays inside the line and lets it go.

1.2

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, down the leg side now from Vernon, the pace is still not up there.

1.3

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, that's better, angled across back of driving length. Tharanga watches it closely and once he's sure it isn't coming in, he leaves.

1.4

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, this one cuts in, short of a length and nipping in as Tharanga looks to cover the line. It caught him cramped and in some strife as it struck him amidships.

1.5

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, probes away outside off from a length, and Tharanga leaves.

1.6

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, impressive end to the over, just outside off and thudded in with effort and intent. Tharanga shoulders arms as it goes by at better than waist height.

End of over 2 (maiden) Sri Lanka 1/0

    • NT Paranavitana 0 (11b)
    • TM Dilshan 0 (1b)
    • VD Philander 1-1-0-0
    • DW Steyn 1-1-0-0
2.1

Steyn to Dilshan, no run, typical Steyn stuff, angling in and then shaping away from outside off. Dilshan resists the temptation and lets it go.

2.2

Steyn to Dilshan, 1 run, first runs off the bat, the captain is away. Dilshan gets forward and pushes defensively into the covers for a single.

2.3

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, beaten again outside off. Tharanga is so focused on negating the inside edge or the lbw, that he isn't quite covering the line. The ball angles across, hits the seam and straightens down the line as Tharanga's bat comes down late, and misses.

2.4

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, shorter length, Tharanga stays on the crease and lets it go.

2.5

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, brutish delivery, and a good leave from Tharanga. Steyn bangs it in and gets it to climb rapidly outside off. Tharanga is back and across, and shapes to steer it before pulling the bat away in time.

2.6

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, gets him lunging forward to feel for the ball, and Tharanga steers to gully with an opened face.

End of over 3 (1 run) Sri Lanka 2/0

    • NT Paranavitana 0 (15b)
    • TM Dilshan 1 (3b)
    • DW Steyn 2-1-1-0
    • VD Philander 1-1-0-0

"I agree with Spike!! SA should've given a guy like Kuhn a run in this series... Can't really prove yourself playing T20 the whole time. He Avereages something like 45 in First class cricket with 2 Double tons," says Seth. Here's Vernon.

3.1

Philander to Dilshan, no run, that trademark shape into the right hander from Vernon. Dilshan gets across and tries to whip it to the leg side, but finds square leg.

There's no short leg in place, but there are three slips and a gully.

3.2

Philander to Dilshan, 1 run, this one holds its line outside off, Dilshan stays on the crease and pushes a single softly to the off side.

3.3

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, bouncer banged in on middle and leg, Tharanga is early to duck under it.

3.4

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, trouble for Tharanga. 132 kph, Vernon ducks one in now after shaping it away towards off stump. Tharanga prods forward to cover the line, but the ball seams past the outside edge as it bounces and hits the thigh.

3.5

Philander to Paranavitana, 1 run, gets the single away now. He's away after 17 dots. Dabbed with the deviation into the leg side for a quick one.

3.6

Philander to Dilshan, FOUR, that's flown away through the covers. Don't think Dilshan timed the on-the-up cover drive as well as he would have liked, but that didn't stop the ball from scorching away. Touch of width outside off, and Dilshan waves the rapier at it in his innate style. Just wide of short cover and that's good enough.

End of over 4 (6 runs) Sri Lanka 8/0

    • TM Dilshan 6 (6b 1x4)
    • NT Paranavitana 1 (18b)
    • VD Philander 2-1-6-0
    • DW Steyn 2-1-1-0
4.1

Steyn to Paranavitana, no run, Tharanga gets back and across to a length ball and defends with a straight bat to the leg side.

4.2

Steyn to Paranavitana, 2 runs, uppish but safe! 135.7 kph, pitched further up wide of off stump - just the sort of tempter Tharanga specialises in letting go. But this time he drives with hard hands, and the ball seemed to stop on him. It goes in the air wide of gully and he picks up two.

4.3

Steyn to Paranavitana, 1 run, Steyn shapes this into Tharanga's pads and he tucks it away through backward square leg for one.

The outer parts of this strip are greener than some outfields in Sri Lanka!

4.4

Steyn to Dilshan, OUT, what an unremarkable shot from Dilshan. He's gifted SA his wicket. Short of a length delivery from Steyn, lands on off stump and seams away. Dilshan attempts the good old Twenty20 across the line hoick. This isn't an IPL pitch, though, and the ball bounces enough to miss the middle of the bat by a mile and take a top-edge high up on the bat. The bat turned in his hands and he spooned it straight up and it settles in Vernon's hands at midwicket.

TM Dilshan c Philander b Steyn 6 (19m 7b 1x4 0x6) SR: 85.71

Madhu lets us know this: "Steyn is the second-fastest to the 250-wicket mark reaching there in his 49th Test, one behind Dennis Lillee's 48. " Well bowled champ! Here's another champ - Sanga has a job to do.

4.5

Steyn to Sangakkara, no run, beaten first up by a Steyn pearler. The same delivery that has had Tharanga in all kinds of trouble. Sanga looks to cover the line and misses as it slips past the outside edge.

4.6

Steyn to Sangakkara, 1 run, Sanga is away, steering a length ball wide of gully.

End of over 5 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 12/1

    • KC Sangakkara 1 (2b)
    • NT Paranavitana 4 (21b)
    • DW Steyn 3-1-5-1
    • VD Philander 2-1-6-0

That Dilshan dismissal reminds me of Sehwag's shot in the first over of India's tour of SA last year, at this very ground. Equally hare-brained.

5.1

Philander to Sangakkara, OUT, Sanga's turn now. Horror start for Sri Lanka. Vernon did this a lot against Australia, getting the ball to rear up from a length, without seeming to put much effort into it. Did that hit one of those verdant patches? Sanga was committed to playing at it, and once it got big on him he was in big trouble. The outside edge lobs easily into second slip's hands.

KC Sangakkara c Kallis b Philander 1 (3m 3b 0x4 0x6) SR: 33.33

Mahela is the new man in. Three slips in place. Trouble for SL.

5.2

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, beaten outside off, seems to be the routine today. Mahela stays on the crease and looks to cover the line, but the ball keeps swerving away even as it bounces extra. Play and a miss.

5.3

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, covers the line better this time, and defends to the off side.

5.4

Philander to Jayawardene, 1 run, short ball on the hips, and Mahela plays it well. He stays on top of it and works it to the leg side for a single.

5.5

Philander to Paranavitana, 1 run, on Tharanga's pads now, and he tucks it down to fine leg for another single.

5.6

Philander to Jayawardene, 1 run, angled into the pads at 128 kph, Mahela nudges it down to fine leg for a single.

End of over 6 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 15/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 2 (4b)
    • NT Paranavitana 5 (22b)
    • VD Philander 3-1-9-1
    • DW Steyn 3-1-5-1

Some groundsmen are out there gardening the area at the crease. A generous dose of sawdust is dropped on that area to ensure no one slips.

6.1

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, Steyn tests him wide of off stump delivery, and Mahela lets it go even as he presses forward.

More from stat-whiz Madhu: "Mahela Jayawardene averages 105.27 against South Africa at home with five centuries but only 31.4 in five matches in South Africa with one half-century."

6.2

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, back of a length now, again that awesome shape away from the right hander. Mahela gets back and across and weaves the bat out of the way.

6.3

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, almost a carbon copy of the previous ball, except it was a touch wider of off stump, Mahela lets go again.

6.4

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, back of a length outside off, and holding its line. Another leave from Mahela.

There's a minor leg trap in place, with short leg and a mid-on who is closer than normal.

6.5

Steyn to Jayawardene, 2 runs, Mahela is away with a good-looking nudge off the pads as Steyn angles it on too straight.

6.6

Steyn to Jayawardene, 1 run, again angled into the pads, Mahela pushes softly wide of mid-on for another single.

End of over 7 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 18/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (10b)
    • NT Paranavitana 5 (22b)
    • DW Steyn 4-1-8-1
    • VD Philander 3-1-9-1
7.1

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, Vernon attacks the stumps with a full length ball that straightens down the line to meet the middle of an even straighter bat from Mahela. Well played.

7.2

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, beaten by bounce and seam. More of the former. Mahela is pushed back by a short of length ball that seams away and the bounce takes it away from the shoulder of Mahela's bat.

7.3

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, this one bounces even more! It was short and there for the cut, but not quite wide enough. Mahela was cramped as he went for the shot, but it didn't matter as the ball bounced enough to comfortably miss the bat.

7.4

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, stays behind the line to a length ball and defends down the track.

7.5

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, angled into the pads at 130 kph, Mahela taps towards square leg.

7.6

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, ends with another delivery on a very good length. 134 kph and angling in from wide of off stump. Mahela spots the big inward movement and defends from the crease.

End of over 8 (maiden) Sri Lanka 18/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (16b)
    • NT Paranavitana 5 (22b)
    • VD Philander 4-2-9-1
    • DW Steyn 4-1-8-1

Bowling change. Morne Morkel replaces Steyn.

8.1

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, what a menacing start! Strength to the makers of helmets! Short ball at 136 kph, Tharanga didn't have much time to react, but he didn't make much use of what he had either. He stays on the crease, doesn't get back or under it and just turns the head away. The ball follows him and clunks into the side of the helmet. Ouch.

8.2

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, another body blow. Morne angles this in from a length and it bounces sharply to defeat the forward defensive and hit the thigh.

8.3

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, this time Morne slants it down the leg side. Easy leave.

8.4

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, edged, but safe. Fuller length from Morne, the ball didn't really come on as Tharanga tried an ill-advised carve through point. The ball rolls towards the slips.

8.5

Morkel to Paranavitana, 1 run, Tharanga wisely gets to the other end, gets the front pad forward and across to a length ball and pushes towards cover.

8.6

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, Mahela knows the location of his off stump so well, he'll tell you where it is even if he's worken up from a slumber. Expert leave to a back of a length ball outside off.

End of over 9 (1 run) Sri Lanka 19/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (17b)
    • NT Paranavitana 6 (27b)
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0
    • VD Philander 4-2-9-1
9.1

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, Tharanga is behind the line now to a short of length ball and defends to the off side.

9.2

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, Tharanga takes another one on the body. He's a tall man, and doesn't seem to have enough time to duck under them. This one struck him cruelly on the bicep as he looked away. He smiles, but that must have hurt.

9.3

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, short again, this time down the leg side and climbing viciously. He lets it go.

9.4

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, late seam movement from outside leg, and it goes down the leg side.

9.5

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, this one angles across and holds its line, Tharanga spots the lack of movement and drops the wrists out of harm's way.

9.6

Philander to Paranavitana, 1 run, on the pads to end the over, and Tharanga works it off the hips for a single through square leg.

End of over 10 (1 run) Sri Lanka 20/2

    • NT Paranavitana 7 (33b)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (17b)
    • VD Philander 5-2-10-1
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0

Radical from Prashant: "Its high time someone tried opening with tailenders on juicy pitches and see if the pitch settles down a bit and the new ball bowlers get tired. The batsmen can encash later instead of wasting their wickets to the new ball. "

10.1

Morkel to Paranavitana, FOUR, a boundary after a long time, only the second of the morning. Welcome for SL, even though it came off the edge. Tharanga tries hard to cover the line from the crease as Morne hits the seam and nips one away. It takes the edge but goes down, and through the cordon.

10.2

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, big bouncer, but the line is awry. It goes down the leg side and is an easy leave for TP.

Short leg is in place.

10.3

Morkel to Paranavitana, 3 runs, another edge, and this flies between slips and gully! Do SA need another man there? TP crouches forward as he attempts to defend a short delivery that flies across, but it hits the shoulder of the bat and pops alarmingly in the air. No one there to catch it.

10.4

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, Mahela's turn to edge one now. It's the bounce again. He tries to drop it to the off side, but it takes off to hit him high on the bat and goes on the bounce to the slips.

10.5

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, lets a length ball outside off go through to the keeper.

10.6

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, again, Mahela stays out of harm's way to a pacy length ball.

End of over 11 (7 runs) Sri Lanka 27/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (20b)
    • NT Paranavitana 14 (36b 1x4)
    • M Morkel 2-0-8-0
    • VD Philander 5-2-10-1

Jacques Kallis comes on now. Second bowling change of the day. Last time he batted here, he got his first 200.

11.1

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, length ball on off stump, draws TP forward and he defends to the off side. The drop in pace is welcome for SL.

"@Prashant: I remember reading somewhere [it might have been a 'rewind to' article on cricinfo] that Australia reversed their order in a match because the pitch was a mud-bowl. It was against England and Bradman batted at seven or eight. " I do recall this, but did Bradman play that game, Karkel?

11.2

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, angled across at a polite pace, Tharanga gets forward and outside off before leaving.

11.3

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, and again, wobbles away at an amiable pace outside off and he leaves.

11.4

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, bumper at 134.5 kph, tennis-ball bounce on that as TP gingerly ducks under it. It was so short, even he managed to get out of the way.

Mark Kidger: "Prashant, a guy called Don Bradman did that back in the 1930s when Australia were caught on a sticky dog. He sent in his tailenders first and came in, if I recall rightly, at #7, with the score about 90-5 and proceeded to score a big double century! Not done to often though these days."

11.5

Kallis to Paranavitana, FOUR, Tharanga cashes in on a short ball. It was just wide enough for him to force away through point as he went back and across to carve it. Played it well in the end, and gets power in the shot despite not having much room.

11.6

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, poor shot to end the over. Kallis cuts the width, but retains the bounce and venom from back of a length. TP goes chasing at it as it seams away, and misses.

End of over 12 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 31/2

    • NT Paranavitana 18 (42b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 5 (20b)
    • JH Kallis 1-0-4-0
    • M Morkel 2-0-8-0
12.1

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, 141 kph from Morne, sends it down from that giraffe-angle of his and gets it to straighten past the off stump as Mahela leaves.

12.2

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, a touch wider of off stump, easier leave for Mahela.

12.3

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, an absolute fire-spewing dragon of a delivery that. Imagine Anil Kumble bowling on a cracking track at 140 kph. Morne angles it in and gets it to burst from a length and nip away, Mahela didn't have a chance of covering the line. Not many batsmen would have been good enough to edge that, if he couldn't.

12.4

Morkel to Jayawardene, 2 runs, goes fuller now, Mahela gets forward and pushes comprehensively into the covers for a couple.

12.5

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, this one cuts in at 143 kph, catches Mahela on the hop and has him doubling up as it thuds into the mid section.

12.6

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, play or leave? Mahela didn't have enough time to decide as Morne's short ball jumped up just wide of off stump, Mahela wanted to stay back and play a dangerous steer, but then wanted to pull out of it. The ball somehow hits the face of the bat and goes on the bounce to slip.

Drinks after a hour that belonged entirely to South Africa. Wonder how Dilshan plans to spend the rest of the day. Will Sri Lanka be on the field by stumps?

End of over 13 (2 runs) Sri Lanka 33/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 7 (26b)
    • NT Paranavitana 18 (42b 2x4)
    • M Morkel 3-0-10-0
    • JH Kallis 1-0-4-0

"It sure would be fun to watch Ishant Sharma and Yadav opening the batting in Australia" I'll pay to watch that, Rakesh!

13.1

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, another bouncer from Kallis to start off after drinks. Tharanga ducks under it again. He isn't the most natural ducker.

13.2

Kallis to Paranavitana, 1 run, well run in the end. Short of a length outside off, TP chops it to the off side and the ball dies near the crease. Mahela motors across and makes it well before Amla can sprint in and under-arm.

13.3

Kallis to Jayawardene, no run, tempting wobble outside off, it angles in and nips away from Mahela who leaves.

"Srilanka have'nt found a test class batsman after Sanga and Jaya. Australia are so pathetic they lost to a NZ without Daniel Vettori. . The England tour I believe will be remembered as when the Fab Indian batting started fading. The rest of the teams are no great shakes either. What is happening to world cricket?" 2012 is coming, Supreeth. That's what is happening.

13.4

Kallis to Jayawardene, 1 run, stays behind a short of length ball and defends solidly to the off side for one.

13.5

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, one bouncer for the over as Kallis bangs it in well short. TP easily eludes it, since it is well wide of the stumps.

13.6

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, goesfull at 131 kph, TP is late getting forward to it, but defends down the track adequately in the end.

End of over 14 (2 runs) Sri Lanka 35/2

    • NT Paranavitana 19 (46b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 8 (28b)
    • JH Kallis 2-0-6-0
    • M Morkel 3-0-10-0

"I'd pay more to watch the Phantom taking shine off the ball." Graeme, even money can't buy everything.

14.1

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, Mahela does the get across to off stump and leave routine once again as Morne keeps it short and wide of the stumps.

14.2

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, even wider, Mahela throws his arms up and lets the ball go.

14.3

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, fiercer than the two previous balls. 144 kph and taking off from a length while jagging away. Mahela hops and still can't get on top of it, so he leaves.

14.4

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, poor poor shot, Mahela is beaten. 142 kph, well short of driving length, and Mahela tries an on-the-up drive on this pitch. He won't want to be doing that too much. It hit the seam and went away sharply to beat the bat.

Morne misses his run up for the third time in 3.4 overs.

14.5

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, this one seams in, without any visible change in action. Mahela stays on the crease and shoulders arms. Left it on length there.

And a fourth time now that Morne's missed the run up. He goes back to do it again.

14.6

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, despite losing the rhythm, he's bowling pretty good lines here. On a length outside off, Mahela defends from the crease into the off side.

End of over 15 (maiden) Sri Lanka 35/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 8 (34b)
    • NT Paranavitana 19 (46b 2x4)
    • M Morkel 4-1-10-0
    • JH Kallis 2-0-6-0
15.1

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, short of a length outside off, TP stays behind the line and defends.

15.2

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, beaten by the heady concoction of seam and bounce this pitch is offering. TP is on the front foot and feeling for a back of length ball that darts away and buzzes past the outside edge.

15.3

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, whoa, that seamed away a mile. TP does well not to get squared up in the end. He stays back and lets it float right across him, and Boucher jumps to his left to pouch it.

15.4

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, another leave outside off as TP stays back to a length ball that held its line as it went across.

15.5

Kallis to Paranavitana, 2 leg byes, on the pads now, TP nudges it with the angle towards square leg for a couple.

15.6

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, too straight again to end the over, TP works it defensively to the leg side.

End of over 16 (2 runs, maiden) Sri Lanka 37/2

    • NT Paranavitana 19 (52b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 8 (34b)
    • JH Kallis 3-1-6-0
    • M Morkel 4-1-10-0

"The Phantom clearly prefers the new ball - he's been pigeonholed into playing old balls 90% of the time - it doesn't suit his free-flowing spirit. He's a peacock - you've gotta let him fly!" Well said, Hugh.

16.1

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, Morne continues to probe away two-thirds of the way down the pitch, and the ball takes off like a blimp every time he does that. Mahela stays put on the crease and lets this keep going.

16.2

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, makes him play with a fuller length, though full only in a relative sense. Mahela stays on the crease and defends.

16.3

Morkel to Jayawardene, 1 wide, loses the plot this time, short and wide of off stump and it seams away further.

"I've always been a believer from day one that dilshan is not the right man for captaining the side and he proved me right again with his reckless batting, it sets a tone for the rest of the team when the captain plays so reckless. I think hes is still the right man to open the innings with his aggressive batting but not while being the captain," says Richard.

16.3

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, wide again from Morne, who isn't quite hitting the straps in terms of rhythm. Easy leave for Mahela.

16.4

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, inward angle followed by outward nip and menacing bounce. Mahela watches closely and leaves.

16.5

Morkel to Jayawardene, 1 run, good-looking stroke, but the giraffe does well to come down and half-stop it. Pitched up my Morne, Mahela gets forward and meets it with firm hands and the ball flies down the track, and Morne stops it with the left hand.

16.6

Morkel to Paranavitana, no run, beaten outside off. TP once again plays down the wrong line as a pacy length ball holds its line. He's done this too many times today.

End of over 17 (2 runs) Sri Lanka 39/2

    • NT Paranavitana 19 (53b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 9 (39b)
    • M Morkel 5-1-12-0
    • JH Kallis 3-1-6-0

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't blimps rise rather slowly? " Ah, fair point Graeme. I was trying to refer to the height, though. Guess rocket would be a better analogy. Or tracer bullet.

17.1

Kallis to Jayawardene, no run, stays behind the line of a length ball and defends to the off side.

17.2

Kallis to Jayawardene, no run, short of a length outside off, Mahela looks to hack it square but there' isn't enough room to play the shot.

17.3

Kallis to Jayawardene, 3 runs, lovely touch from Mahela. He's compulsively on the back foot on this crease, which is how it should be. This one was fuller, he was late to get forward, and hence focused on covering the line and timing the push rather than launching into it. Beats mid-off and gets three runs.

17.4

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, heavy ball to TP once again, and he ducks for safety.

Three slips, two gullies, round the stumps.

17.5

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, good bouncer, it doesn't fell the batsman, but it fells the bowler. Short and angling in just outside off, TP had to bend back and sway in a hurry. Kallis' foot gets stuck as he steps on the crease and he tumbles in the follow through.

"In terms of "quality" of a playing surface, how different is this pitch from a rank turner in the subcontinent? If those are bad pitches, why not this?" Fair point, Hari. In my book, both are 'good' pitches.

17.6

Kallis to Paranavitana, no run, looks for a needless, risky single, but changes his mind in time. Short of a length outside off, defended into the off side. TP scoots out, and is sent back by Mahela, rightly.

End of over 18 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 42/2

    • NT Paranavitana 19 (56b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 12 (42b)
    • JH Kallis 4-1-9-0
    • M Morkel 5-1-12-0

Philander is back on. Over the stumps.

"Please for the love of God don't mention the word blimp again! It brings back horrible memories of Ravi Shastri and IPL advertising." Ah Chris Morley, you do know that the next edition of that circus will be on soon, don't you?

18.1

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, short ball at 130 kph, Mahela generates ominous power on a back foot punch, but can't beat point.

18.2

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, 132 kph, but on this pitch that's fast enough to pose problems. Mahela is hit on the glove as the ball jumps up from a clump of paddy midway on the strip.

18.3

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, gets nicely behind the line and defends a short ball to the leg side.

18.4

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, he's through him! Huge appeal for caught behind, not given and not reviewed. After straightening a few and angling a few across, Vernon ducks this one straight in off the seam. Mahela is caught napping on the front foot, and the ball bursts through a minuscule bat-pad gap, but it misses the willow and hits him on the back thigh on its way to Bouch. Good call from Tucker.

18.5

Philander to Jayawardene, FOUR, and now he takes it the other way! What venom from Vernon. Mahela is squared up a touch, but he is good enough to drop the wrists and guide it softly wide of gully for four.

18.6

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, short ball again on off stump, defended to the off side from the crease.

End of over 19 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 46/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 16 (48b 1x4)
    • NT Paranavitana 19 (56b 2x4)
    • VD Philander 6-2-14-1
    • JH Kallis 4-1-9-0

Imran Tahir comes on for the first round of spin.

19.1

Imran Tahir to Paranavitana, 1 run, not much spin on a back of length ball that comes onto the pads, and it nudged through square leg for one.

Slip and short leg. I wonder why Steyn didn't get a longer spell.

19.2

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, 2 runs, too short to Mahela, and he whips it past short leg for a couple.

These batsmen will love playing Tahir on this pitch. Absolutely chuffed, they must be.

19.3

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, short of a length again, Mahela defends to the leg side.

19.4

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, fuller length, Mahela gets forward and defends with the turn to the off side.

19.5

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, gets forward again and defends a full ball to the off side.

19.6

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, tosses up the last one too and it breaks away a touch. Mahela has it covered as he leans out.

End of over 20 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 49/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 18 (53b 1x4)
    • NT Paranavitana 20 (57b 2x4)
    • Imran Tahir 1-0-3-0
    • VD Philander 6-2-14-1

Vernon continues.

20.1

Philander to Paranavitana, 1 bye, whangs the bouncer down well wide of leg stump, Boucher parries it down to fine leg. The 50 is up, and SL will be happy to get there without losing more than Dilly and Sanga.

20.2

Philander to Jayawardene, 3 runs, another lovely push-drive from Mahela, you can see he is curtailing his usual flourish on this pitch. Fuller length, he leans out and just meets it on the up, wide of mid-off for runs.

20.3

Philander to Paranavitana, (no ball) 2 runs, Vernon over-steps, but that length ball seemed to stop on TP. Not for the first time today, an uppish drive through the covers.

20.3

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, well played. TP covers the line of a ball angled across and defends to the off side.

20.4

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, bouncer on leg and middle, TP's ducking style reminds me of how naughty kids in school get out of the way when the teacher hurls small pieces of chalk at them.

20.5

Philander to Paranavitana, no run, fuller length, TP gets forward and defends confidently to the off side.

All said, SA haven't made the best use of the new ball today.

20.6

Philander to Paranavitana, 1 run, risky! TP defends a length ball into cover-point and they scoot across. Mahela has to dive in the end to make it. Prince's throw was weak and not accurate.

End of over 21 (8 runs) Sri Lanka 57/2

    • NT Paranavitana 23 (63b 2x4)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 21 (54b 1x4)
    • VD Philander 7-2-21-1
    • Imran Tahir 1-0-3-0
21.1

Imran Tahir to Paranavitana, FOUR, SA, you got to be kidding us to be bowling a leggie at these guys in the first session, on this pitch. TP loves it, gets the front foot across to a short ball spinning down the leg side, and laps it to the fine leg fence. Superbly played.

21.2

Imran Tahir to Paranavitana, 1 run, single for TP now, as he leans out to push against the spin into the covers.

21.3

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, over-pitched on off stump, Mahela digs it out to the off side.

21.4

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, fullish on leg, worked with a turn of the wrists to the leg side.

21.5

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, googly dropped short, Mahela picks it and defends to the off side.

21.6

Imran Tahir to Jayawardene, no run, flighted on off stump, driven with the turn into the covers.

End of over 22 (5 runs) Sri Lanka 62/2

    • DPMD Jayawardene 21 (58b 1x4)
    • NT Paranavitana 28 (65b 3x4)
    • Imran Tahir 2-0-8-0
    • VD Philander 7-2-21-1
22.1

Philander to Paranavitana, FOUR, full ball angled into the pads, TP whips it with the angle through square leg for four. Uppish, but he controlled the storke well enough.

22.2

Philander to Paranavitana, OUT, there's timber dust on the pitch! Vernon has snaked one past Tharanga Paranavitana's defences and made a mess of the stumps. Good length ball, bustling in from over the stumps towards off stumps, it then hits the seam and straightens. As is his wont, TP isn't entirely forward as he defends, and there's enough of a gap between bat and pads for the ball to shape through. Off and middle are bent in opposite directions. A real gem that, from Vernon.

NT Paranavitana b Philander 32 (104m 67b 4x4 0x6) SR: 47.76

Thilan Samaraweera walks out, with plenty to prove. A Test average of 52, and not too many runs outside Asia. Here's a chance to correct that.

22.3

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, back of a length outside off, Thilan lets it go to the keeper.

Three slips and a gully.

22.4

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, pitches this up, and Thilan does well to cover the line on the front foot and defend into the covers.

Karkel again. "These two have done a terrific job. Based on what I've read so far this pitch isn't too dis-similar to the Hobart track last week. I expected Sri Lanka to be 70-odd for 5 at lunch. " That pitch was a pool table. This one is a grazing field for cows.

22.5

Philander to Samaraweera, 1 run, angling in from off stump, and Thilan is caught on the crease as he looks to grope for the line. The ball hits the inside edge and goes square for a single.

22.6

Philander to Jayawardene, 1 wide, very short to Mahela, who ducks under it nice and early, but a harsh call for wide.

22.6

Philander to Jayawardene, no run, hits the bat with intent as he drops an effort ball short, and it goes off the middle of the bat into the cordon. Well controlled, and on the bounce.

End of over 23 (6 runs) Sri Lanka 68/3

    • DPMD Jayawardene 21 (59b 1x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 1 (3b)
    • VD Philander 8-2-27-2
    • Imran Tahir 2-0-8-0

An over for Steyn? Indeed. The best bowler in the world is back on.

23.1

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, polite away movement from outside off, at 132 kph. Thilan gets forward and lets it go.

23.2

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, similar ball, Thilan waits to ensure it is going away, and then shoulders arms.

"the Answer to the question: why Steyn didn't get a longer spell? In Serengeti, The Best lion of herd takes guard of the territory and the other stronger males take care of the hunting. " Interesting analogy, Vin! Sri Lankan fans will be a little confused, though, since the lion is their emblem.

23.3

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, another leave from Thilan as Steyn probes away with intent outside off. Will one come back in now?

23.4

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, this one holds its line outside off, Thilan sees it climb steeply from a length and lets it go.

23.5

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, full-pitched away swinger at 139 kph, Thilan defends to the off side off the toe off the bat.

23.6

Steyn to Samaraweera, 3 runs, well played. Length ball going away, and Thilan drives through the line with a high front elbow and all that jazz. A shocker for Morne at cover, he lets it slip through and then slides and falls clumsily before stopping it in the outfield.

End of over 24 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 71/3

    • TT Samaraweera 4 (9b)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 21 (59b 1x4)
    • DW Steyn 5-1-11-1
    • VD Philander 8-2-27-2
24.1

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, short of a length outside off and seaming away, Thilan lets it go. Wasted ball.

24.2

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, this one nips in, Thilan is caught on the crease but defends well in the end.

24.3

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, Thilan is staying back in the crease, probably concerned about the ones that take off. It comes in and hits the splice, and the bat turns in his hand.

24.4

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, over-pitched outside off, Thilan drives expansively without getting forward at all. Pretty ugly stroke, and the inside edge goes to square leg.

24.5

Philander to Samaraweera, 1 run, angled into the pads, Thilan works it square for a single as Steyn bustles across in the deep to keep it down to a single.

"Great to see undoctored speed ball radar readings in this test, eg Steyn at 132kph for first ball in a spell. We just had to put up with Channel 9 in Australia who ramp up speed ball radar to make their bowlers look good. One of Peter Siddle's first balls in a spell Channel 9 measured at 146kph - yeah right!" Matt, I don't know about doctoring, but these speed guns sure aren't consistent across countries.

24.6

Philander to Jayawardene, 1 no ball, the dream ball again. Angles in, lands on off, straightens and bounces like a yoyo on speed. Mahela is beaten as he attempts in vain to cover the line from the crease.

24.6

Philander to Jayawardene, 1 run, gets the single to end the over, turning a straight ball towards square leg.

End of over 25 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 74/3

    • DPMD Jayawardene 22 (61b 1x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 5 (14b)
    • VD Philander 9-2-30-2
    • DW Steyn 5-1-11-1
25.1

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, short and wide, in fact too wide for the cut. But Mahela goes for it, and misses.

25.2

Steyn to Jayawardene, 1 run, better from Mahela, gets forward and across to cover the away seam and drops it into the covers for a single.

25.3

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, goes full to Thilan, who again isn't getting forward comprehensively enough. Defended off the toe of the bat to the off side.

25.4

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, full again, Thilan opens the face and defends towards gully.

25.5

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, sharp bouncer, and it is clocked at 147.5 kph! Thilan was pressing forward after all those full balls and was forced t quickly bend forward and avoid damage.

25.6

Steyn to Samaraweera, 1 run, 146.4 kph and a full length ball to end the session. Thilan stumbles on the crease after meeting the ball with a push through mid-off, and gets the single eventually.

12.30 pm South Africa's session that as we head to lunch, but they could have easily had at least one more wicket, for 15-20 fewer runs. They weren't full enough or consistent enough. 200-250 will be a good score on this pitch, though, given Sri Lanka's bowling weaknesses, they will need more. Alex Winter will be on the commentary in about 30 minutes to see whether Mahela can get to 10,000 Test runs in this innings. He's looked the part so far. Cheers.

End of over 26 (2 runs) Sri Lanka 76/3

    • TT Samaraweera 6 (18b)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 23 (63b 1x4)
    • DW Steyn 6-1-13-1
    • VD Philander 9-2-30-2


Mahela Jayawardene holds the key for Sri Lanka here. If he gets stuck in this afternoon the visitors could well make a competitive total. He also needs 23 more to become the first Sri Lanka to score 10,000 runs in Test match cricket.
Welcome back. The afternoon session in the Centurion sunshine is about to get underway. Sri Lanka will be resuming fairly pleased about only being three down. The damage was expected to be greater.
Also interesting the overs Steyn and Morkel bowled - six and five respectively. One might have thought the best bowler in the world might have had more of a go on the first morning with a green pitch. Curious.

26.1

Morkel to Samaraweera, 2 runs, length ball on middle and flicked down to long leg to get the afternoon session underway

26.2

Morkel to Samaraweera, 1 no ball, Morkel, having had problems in the morning session with his run-up, oversteps again

26.2

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, this time he's behind the whitewash and bowling length on off stump.Samaraweera defends, a little bit squared up

26.3

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, defended once more from off stump

26.4

Morkel to Samaraweera, 1 run, Samaraweera tries to lift a ball drifting onto leg stump but spoons it over short leg and picks up a single

26.5

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, length outside offstump and Jayawardene shoulders arms

26.6

Morkel to Jayawardene, FOUR, short, wide, cut nicely away for four

That ends a pretty average first over from Morkel. Jacques Rudolph has also left the field with a damaged finger. Not a great start for South Africa

End of over 27 (8 runs) Sri Lanka 84/3

    • DPMD Jayawardene 27 (65b 2x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 9 (23b)
    • M Morkel 6-1-20-0
    • DW Steyn 6-1-13-1

Steyn opens up from the other end

27.1

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, fuller and left alone outside off

27.2

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, defended on middle stump

replay of Rudolph injury looks nasty. Little finger on his left hand bending inwards, ouchie.

27.3

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, Samaraweera wears one. Quick bumper from Steyn and poorly played. Head turned and he's wrapped on the upper arm

27.4

Steyn to Samaraweera, no run, another bumper but safely ducked underneath this time

27.5

Steyn to Samaraweera, 3 runs, nicely driven. Full length and Samaraweera comes forward and with a good punch picks up three down the ground

27.6

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, Steyn finishes with back of length and Jayawardene covers up

End of over 28 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 87/3

    • DPMD Jayawardene 27 (66b 2x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 12 (28b)
    • DW Steyn 7-1-16-1
    • M Morkel 6-1-20-0

Morkel had a real loosener first up, can he respond

28.1

Morkel to Samaraweera, 1 run, he drifts onto leg and is turned to long leg

28.2

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, better line but the batsman not required to play outside off

28.3

Morkel to Jayawardene, no run, perhaps the best ball of Morkel's brief afternoon. A lifter on off stump that has Jayawardene popping up on his toes to defend

28.4

Morkel to Jayawardene, 3 runs, Morkel goes fuller and Jayawardene isn't convincingly forward but nudges it away through vacant mid-on and gets three

now a backward square leg and forward short leg

28.5

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, length on leg stump and tried to be left alone but nudged down the leg side, fielded by Boucher

28.6

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, left alone

End of over 29 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 91/3

    • TT Samaraweera 13 (31b)
    • DPMD Jayawardene 30 (69b 2x4)
    • M Morkel 7-1-24-0
    • DW Steyn 7-1-16-1
29.1

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, down the leg side Jayawardene goes to flick and misses

29.2

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, solid line from Steyn and Jayawardene covers up

29.3

Steyn to Jayawardene, no run, bumper, ducked underneath.

"Rudolph is injured?! Santa might need a replacement for Christmas Eve!" says Chive. Ho, ho, ho.

29.4

Steyn to Jayawardene, OUT, gone. That's a huge wicket. Poor stroke from Jayawardene. He probably didn't need to play, certainly not so close after the resumption. Going to back-foot drive a back-of-a-length ball he nicks it to Smith who takes a solid catch

DPMD Jayawardene c Smith b Steyn 30 (114m 73b 2x4 0x6) SR: 41.09

Now that is a breakthrough. South Africa will fancy their chances of running through the order now. Angelo Mathews the new man.

29.5

Steyn to Mathews, no run, poor first ball to the new man, short and down the legside.

29.6

Steyn to Mathews, no run, strikes the batsman on the thigh pad

That was Smith's 121st catch in Test matches. A good grab considering he almost when behind Kallis who was unmoved at second slip. Wicket maiden from Steyn.

End of over 30 (wicket maiden) Sri Lanka 91/4

    • AD Mathews 0 (2b)
    • TT Samaraweera 13 (31b)
    • DW Steyn 8-2-16-2
    • M Morkel 7-1-24-0

Morkel needs to back up Steyn here with some better stuff

30.1

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, left outside off

30.2

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, again wide outside off and easily left.

Ayush has some thoughts on Samaraweera: "The awkward moment when your No. 5, despite having played 69 Test matches, doesn't have a hundred outside the subcontinent against decent opposition." Awkward indeed.

30.3

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, this time the batsman does have to play. Solidly in behind

30.4

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, angled away to point and a sliding save from the fieldsman

30.5

Morkel to Samaraweera, 1 no ball, another one. But not out! No-ball on review. Had been caught at slip but Morkel has really had front-foot troubles and this time pays the ultimate price. A reprieve for Samaraweera.

Fortune for Sri Lanka. That would have been a disaster

30.5

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, Wide down the leg side and it's now a very disappointing over from Morkel

8 overs 0 for 25 now for Morkel

30.6

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run

End of over 31 (1 run) Sri Lanka 92/4

    • TT Samaraweera 13 (38b)
    • AD Mathews 0 (2b)
    • M Morkel 8-1-25-0
    • DW Steyn 8-2-16-2
31.1

Steyn to Mathews, no run, strikes the pad

31.2

Steyn to Mathews, no run, full length - that's good from Steyn - and pushed nervously from the new man to midwicket

31.3

Steyn to Mathews, no run, waste of a delivery for me. Bumper and easily ducked underneath

31.4

Steyn to Mathews, no run, that's the way Mr Steyn. Full and draws the man forward, genuine play and miss from poor footwork

31.5

Steyn to Mathews, no run, outside off stump and left

31.6

Steyn to Mathews, no run, nicely bowled again, full on off stump and Matthews defends coming forward

End of over 32 (maiden) Sri Lanka 92/4

    • AD Mathews 0 (8b)
    • TT Samaraweera 13 (38b)
    • DW Steyn 9-3-16-2
    • M Morkel 8-1-25-0

Half hour after lunch and Morkel is out of the attack and Kallis is into the attack

32.1

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, full and left

32.2

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, defended from a full length

32.3

Kallis to Samaraweera, 4 leg byes, clipped off the pad and runs. Four leg byes.

32.4

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, Kallis puts in a real effort for a bouncer. To no avail

32.5

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, nice area, Samaraweera had a careful look before shouldering arms

32.6

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, again a good area and this time carefully defended.

Good start from Kallis. Liked that.

End of over 33 (4 runs, maiden) Sri Lanka 96/4

    • TT Samaraweera 13 (44b)
    • AD Mathews 0 (8b)
    • JH Kallis 5-2-9-0
    • DW Steyn 9-3-16-2

Steyn continues

33.1

Steyn to Mathews, no run, and goes wide of off stump, no stroke

33.2

Steyn to Mathews, no run, nudged into the offside, loud call of no, no. Extra cover was on the scene very quickly

33.3

Steyn to Mathews, no run, driven by Matthews to cover

33.4

Steyn to Mathews, no run, short and well left from Matthews to a ball just outside off stump

33.5

Steyn to Mathews, no run, this time Matthews has a nibble to a ball outside off, play and a miss

33.6

Steyn to Mathews, 1 run, this time perfect direction from Steyn. Matthews is in all sorts of trouble and gets the shoulder of the bat in the way but the ball just loops into a vacant area in front of square on the legside

End of over 34 (1 run) Sri Lanka 97/4

    • AD Mathews 1 (14b)
    • TT Samaraweera 13 (44b)
    • DW Steyn 10-3-17-2
    • JH Kallis 5-2-9-0

Update from our correspondent at the ground on Rudolph: "He has gone to hospital for an x-ray on his left little finger. It may be broken or dislocated." Alviro Petersen is the 12th man

34.1

Kallis to Mathews, no run, awkwardly defended and edged on the ground the third slip

34.2

Kallis to Mathews, FOUR, Matthews latches onto a short ball and pulls hard over midwicket for four, fine stroke

34.3

Kallis to Mathews, no run, defended into the offside from length

34.4

Kallis to Mathews, FOUR, bumper from Kallis. Matthews tries to pull again but a top edge and it's wide of Bouncher and down to the fine leg boundary

34.5

Kallis to Mathews, 1 run, sharper from Kallis back of a length and Matthews turns through square leg

34.6

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, solidly defended by Samaraweera

A good over for Sri Lanka. Having avoided the second wicket in the afternoon courtesy of the no-ball they are feeling their way back into the session

End of over 35 (9 runs) Sri Lanka 106/4

    • TT Samaraweera 13 (45b)
    • AD Mathews 10 (19b 2x4)
    • JH Kallis 6-2-18-0
    • DW Steyn 10-3-17-2

Morkel switches ends to replace Steyn

35.1

Morkel to Mathews, no run, length on middle stump and flicked to mid on

35.2

Morkel to Mathews, FOUR, a similar delivery and wristily flicked wide of midwicket. Very nice shot

35.3

Morkel to Mathews, 1 run, a sharp delivery back of length and Matthews plays it awkward but manages to shovel it past backward short leg for a single

35.4

Morkel to Samaraweera, FOUR, Samaraweera cashes in now on more poor stuff from Monkel. Short and wide.

35.5

Morkel to Samaraweera, FOUR, this time full and the wrong line. Again Samaraweera helps himself to a boundary. Morkel is all over the place

35.6

Morkel to Samaraweera, no run, better line and left alone.

End of over 36 (13 runs) Sri Lanka 119/4

    • TT Samaraweera 21 (48b 2x4)
    • AD Mathews 15 (22b 3x4)
    • M Morkel 9-1-38-0
    • JH Kallis 6-2-18-0

Stand is worth 28 now since Jayawardene went.

36.1

Kallis to Mathews, no run, defended from back of a length

36.2

Kallis to Mathews, FOUR, fortune for the batsman. Squared up and a big nick goes wide of the slips for four - wouldn't have carried though

36.3

Kallis to Mathews, no run, this time defended coming forward

Probing stuff from Kallis

36.4

Kallis to Mathews, 1 run, pulled again by Matthews. There is now a deep square leg in place so they only take one

36.5

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, Samaraweera up on his toes and defended into the leg side

36.6

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, Samaraweera amost opens his front leg to drive there and pushes up to mid on

End of over 37 (5 runs) Sri Lanka 124/4

    • TT Samaraweera 21 (50b 2x4)
    • AD Mathews 20 (26b 4x4)
    • JH Kallis 7-2-23-0
    • M Morkel 9-1-38-0

Sri Lanka will be pleased with their progress since lunch. Can't think why Morkel is still bowling.

37.1

Morkel to Mathews, no run, full and defended on off stump

37.2

Morkel to Mathews, (no ball) FOUR, hammered away by Matthews again on the pull. Another no-ball from Morkel, who really is having a stinker

1,000 Test runs now for Matthews

37.2

Morkel to Mathews, no run, Matthews looks to open up and turn to leg but gets a leading edge but safely into the offside

37.3

Morkel to Mathews, FOUR, Great shot. Timed perfectly through the offside off the back foot

37.4

Morkel to Mathews, no run, full on offstump and defended

37.5

Morkel to Mathews, no run, another wide one but this time tucked to point

37.6

Morkel to Mathews, 1 wide, goodness me. Morkel falls over bowling a bumper and is called wide

37.6

Morkel to Mathews, no run, forward and defended. Drinks time.

Time for a cuppa in London with Christmas dinner stewing downstairs. Back to Nitin...
He bowls to the left, he bowls to right. That Morne Morkel... I've heard this song somewhere before...

End of over 38 (10 runs) Sri Lanka 134/4

    • AD Mathews 28 (33b 6x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 21 (50b 2x4)
    • M Morkel 10-1-48-0
    • JH Kallis 7-2-23-0

Christmas dinner sounds like fun! Thanks Alex. Here's Kallis

38.1

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, wobbler outside off, not there for the drive, and Thilan lets it go.

38.2

Kallis to Samaraweera, FOUR, lovely looking stroke! This is a nice little counter-attack brewing between these two. Length ball outside off, Thilan walks into a drive with a flourish that immediately reminds me of Atapattu. The ball flows through the covers.

38.3

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, angles in this time, Thilan covers the line from the crease and defends to the leg side.

Did you know your commentary feedback (the funny bits, obviously) now make up a section on Page 2? Check out the Commentariat. And send in worthy entries, too!

38.4

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, on a length outside off, Thilan shoulders arms and lets Boucher handle it.

38.5

Kallis to Samaraweera, no run, back of a length outside off, defended to the off side from the crease.

38.6

Kallis to Samaraweera, FOUR, Thilan's getting into a nice little groove here. Looks like he fancies Kallis' pace, too. Back of a length wide of off stump, it was rising and not wide enough, but the lack of pace allowed Thilan to wait beside the line and steer it past gully. The fifty-run stand is up in just 58 balls.

End of over 39 (8 runs) Sri Lanka 142/4

    • TT Samaraweera 29 (56b 4x4)
    • AD Mathews 28 (33b 6x4)
    • JH Kallis 8-2-31-0
    • M Morkel 10-1-48-0

Imran Tahir is back on. Can he wheedle out a wicket through a false stroke? Slip and short leg.

39.1

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, over-pitched on middle and leg, defended with a full face to mid-on.

39.2

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 1 run, short of a length outside off, cut away with the turn through point.

39.3

Imran Tahir to Samaraweera, no run, another full ball that drifts in towards middle and leg, and it is played to mid-on.

39.4

Imran Tahir to Samaraweera, 1 run, spinning away, Thilan steers with the turn through cover-point.

39.5

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 2 runs, he skips out now. Mathews gets a touch too close to the flight by the looks of it, but still times the drill down the ground well enough to nearly go for four ... Nearly, since Alviro Petersen gives it his absolute all to drag it in on the ropes.

39.6

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, holds the length back, and Mathews defends it back to the bowler.

End of over 40 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 146/4

    • AD Mathews 31 (37b 6x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 30 (58b 4x4)
    • Imran Tahir 3-0-12-0
    • JH Kallis 8-2-31-0

"Christmas dinner is fun? I have been living here in UK for 6 years now and I dread the very thought of food in christmas parties every year...Pudding is great, but everything else tastes very bland (atleast for south asians!). I only attend christmas parties for the unlimited champagne..." People, reading this, Harsha is to blame if the bubby runs out early at your party. Plilander into the attack.

40.1

Philander to Samaraweera, FOUR, whoa, Thilan squeezes a ball going down the leg side, and ends up glancing it too fine. It is just out of Boucher's reach and runs away to fine leg.

40.2

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, that one jumped up from a length, but Thilan leaped higher to cover it and defend to the off side. Ungainly but effective.

40.3

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, fuller length, he gets forward and defends with an angled face towards point.

40.4

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, on a length outside off and it moves away off the seam. Thilan lets it go.

40.5

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, short ball outside off, and Thilan climbs on it with a flowing carve into the covers. He can't find the gap, though.

40.6

Philander to Samaraweera, no run, short of a length and defended compactly off the back foot. Back and across, and comprehensive.

End of over 41 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 150/4

    • TT Samaraweera 34 (64b 5x4)
    • AD Mathews 31 (37b 6x4)
    • VD Philander 10-2-34-2
    • Imran Tahir 3-0-12-0

Oshada: "Dropping Thilan for no reason cost Sri Lanka the series against Pakistan. Another experienced batsman in the middle order would've helped us immensely. Youth has to be given a chance, but systematically, instead of cutting out seniors willy-nilly. Another case in point is Simon Katich. The only Australian batsman to average 50 over the last 4 years gets cut, and the results are there for all to see."

41.1

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, tossed up outside off, he leans out to defend.

In all fairness, Thilan was pedestrian against Australia.

41.2

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, on middle and leg, Mathews works it with the wrists to mid-on.

41.3

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, spinning away back of a length outside off, defended to the off side with the spin.

41.4

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 1 run, on the pads again, Mathews nurdles it through square leg and picks up a single. He wants a second, but is rightly sent back.

41.5

Imran Tahir to Samaraweera, 1 run, kamikaze running this. Nearly a run out, too. Full toss outside off, driven to the left of Kallis at mid-off. He swoops on it and fires a throw. Think Thilan might have been gasping if there was a direct hit.

41.6

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 2 runs, poor from Tahir, another ordinary ball on leg, and Mathews puts it away through square leg. A good save in the deep keeps him to two.

End of over 42 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 154/4

    • AD Mathews 34 (42b 6x4)
    • TT Samaraweera 35 (65b 5x4)
    • Imran Tahir 4-0-16-0
    • VD Philander 10-2-34-2
42.1

Philander to Samaraweera, 1 run, Vernon nips this in off the straight, and it is defended to the leg side.

42.2

Philander to Mathews, 1 run, angled in towards the pads, Mathews squares up to defend to the leg side.

I like how Alan thinks. "Harsha's right. Christmas food in England is horribly bland, and this will be my 39th Christmas in England. That's so many, that if my Christmases in England were deliveries in spell bowled by Steyn in a test match, on average, according to his test strike rate, a wicket would be about to fall. What a depressing thought," he says.

42.3

Philander to Samaraweera, OUT, huge caught behind appeal turned down and referred. Vernon looks mighty confident, he was making the T symbol even before his follow through was done. Back of a length delivery seams away and zips past the tentative defensive prod. No edge to be seen on the normal replay. Here comes HotSpot. And there's a white smidgen of something as the ball passes by. That's as wispy as a feather can get! One point to technology. Thilan's gone. He was trying hard to cover the line and the ball did just enough to touch the edge on its way to Bouch, as Thilan got squared up.

TT Samaraweera c †Boucher b Philander 36 (95m 67b 5x4 0x6) SR: 53.73

Kaushal Silva is in, and South Africa are back on top.

42.4

Philander to Silva, OUT, another appeal for a catch behind. This time down the leg side. Another review! This was always slipping down the leg, Kaushal lunged well forward without getting the front foot out. He was playing miles in front of his body, and kept chasing it as it went down, looking for a fine glance. Wow, there's an even fainter white nebular appearance on the glove as the ball passes. You almost have to squint to notice it. After multiple replays, the 3rd upire over-rules it, and Rod Tucker has to change his decision again! A first-baller for Kaushal Silva.

JK Silva c †Boucher b Philander 0 (4m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

UDRS on a hat-trick. Vernon on a hat-trick. If this match were India v SA, the score would have been 156 for 4. I must say I didn't quite see the white spot on Kaushal's replay there. That said, I wear thick glasses. Three slips and a silly mid-on. Over the stumps to the left-handed Thisara Perera.

42.5

Philander to Perera, 1 run, no hat-trick. Short of a length on Thisara's pads and he dabs it behind square for a single.

42.6

Philander to Mathews, no run, a wild finish to a wild, wild over. Mathews charges out and swipes to the leg side, and misses a short of length ball that goes away outside off.

End of over 43 (3 runs) Sri Lanka 157/6

    • AD Mathews 35 (44b 6x4)
    • NLTC Perera 1 (1b)
    • VD Philander 11-2-37-4
    • Imran Tahir 4-0-16-0
43.1

Imran Tahir to Perera, OUT, it's all happening! Another referral, this time from Sri Lanka. Googlie tossed up on off and turning across the left hander. Thisara tries to cover the line, but the ball kisses the outer edge and goes straight to Boucher, who can't pouch. It goes off his thigh, and is flying away past slip, when Jacques Kallis' left hand appears out of nowhere and plucks it. Not sure what that referral was all about. SL have lost three wickets in five balls after a really good stand.

NLTC Perera c Kallis b Imran Tahir 1 (4m 2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 50.00

Herath is the new man in. Looks a bit like Jayasuriya, in stature. Tries to bat like him too.

43.2

Imran Tahir to Herath, 2 runs, there you go. SL in all sorts of trouble, but that doesn't stop him from planting the front foot across and slog-heaving over square leg for a couple. Mishit, but safe.

43.3

Imran Tahir to Herath, no run, flighted outside off, he leans out to defend to the off side.

43.4

Imran Tahir to Herath, no run, googly lands on leg and goes away sharply, Herath covers the line in the nick of time to defend.

Apologies, Kallis took the catch, not Smith. My bad.

43.5

Imran Tahir to Herath, 1 run, short ball on middle and leg, pulled with the turn for a single.

Mathews tries to stall the momentum with a glove-change break as Tahir begins to trot in. Pressure on Mathews.

43.6

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 1 run, short ball outside off, guides the cut in front of square for one.

End of over 44 (4 runs) Sri Lanka 161/7

    • AD Mathews 36 (45b 6x4)
    • HMRKB Herath 3 (4b)
    • Imran Tahir 5-0-20-1
    • VD Philander 11-2-37-4

Reactions pouring in on that Kaushal Silva call. I daresay, he got unlucky there. I haven't seen flimsier evidence for giving someone out, in a long time.

44.1

Philander to Mathews, no run, short and wide, and seaming away. Mathews chases it but it is too far away from him.

44.2

Philander to Mathews, 1 run, short ball angled in, and Mathews plays a guided pull in front of square for one.

44.3

Philander to Herath, FOUR, whoa, tonk of the highest class from Herath. Length ball outside off, he steps up to it and lofts it down the ground on the up. Ernie Els sort of stroke that, straight past the greens for four.

44.4

Philander to Herath, no run, not quite that good looking now. Short ball at 134 kph, Herath stays back and is very late to play an awry little pull through square leg. More of a fend at a fly than a pull shot really.

44.5

Philander to Herath, 1 wide, another bump ball outside off, Herath lets it go to the keeper.

44.5

Philander to Herath, no run, he's taking the Sanath analogy seriously. Short ball outside off, he tries to flat-bat it down the ground and misses by a mile and some.

44.6

Philander to Herath, 1 no ball, away seamer at 129 kph, but Vernon's over-stepped. Herath chases it and misses.

44.6

Philander to Herath, no run, another feel outside the off stump to a bristling short of length ball, another miss. Vernon's seam work is too good for Herath at the moment.

End of over 45 (7 runs) Sri Lanka 168/7

    • HMRKB Herath 7 (9b 1x4)
    • AD Mathews 37 (47b 6x4)
    • VD Philander 12-2-44-4
    • Imran Tahir 5-0-20-1

"I imagine, eventually, in a match involving Sri Lanka, a player with the initials, 'UDRS' could actually claim a hat-trick via the UDRS. " Quite possible Rhys Needham. Sight-screen troubles delaying play. They put a man on the moon (or so they claim), but they can't sort this nonsense out.

45.1

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, flighted on middle and leg, defended off the front foot.

Mike Haysman uses stats to prove that Kallis is as good as Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan combined. Can't fault that argument actually ... Or can you?

45.2

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, flighted on the stumps, defended off the front foot.

45.3

Imran Tahir to Mathews, no run, loopy again, and defended off the front foot.

45.4

Imran Tahir to Mathews, 1 run, Mathews skips out and smashes a full ball to long-on. The single is taken, they want to bowl at Herath.

Short leg and a slip in place.

45.5

Imran Tahir to Herath, no run, tossed up outside off, defended off the front foot sedately.

45.6

Imran Tahir to Herath, 1 run, full toss outside off, driven off the front foot into the covers.

End of over 46 (2 runs) Sri Lanka 170/7

    • HMRKB Herath 8 (11b 1x4)
    • AD Mathews 38 (51b 6x4)
    • Imran Tahir 6-0-22-1
    • VD Philander 12-2-44-4

Vernon continues. Where. Is. Steyn!

46.1

Philander to Herath, no run, angled across at pace outside off, Herath lets it go.

46.2

Philander to Herath, FOUR, Herath's swinging in glory here. Short of a length and angling across outside off, and Herath tries to lash it over the leg side. He gets a top edge that comfortably clears the slips and flies away.

46.3

Philander to Herath, no run, back of a length in the stumps, worked off the hips to the leg side.

46.4

Philander to Herath, 1 run, fuller length and too straight, Herath nudges it behind square for a single.

46.5

Philander to Mathews, OUT, Vernon Philander takes five wickets every time he bowls! Three five-fors in three Tests! What a strange dismissal, though. Mathews knew he was running out of partners, and tried to make something happen by charging out of the crease. But Philo kept it short and on off stump, Mathews ended up in no position to drive and ended up steering it straight into the slips.

AD Mathews c Kallis b Philander 38 (89m 52b 6x4 0x6) SR: 73.07

Another update from Firdose. "Rudolph has dislocated his finger, but he is strapped up and will be able to bat but he will not field." I wonder how well he can bat with a dislocated finger, though. Welegedara is the new man in. Chanaka to friends.

46.6

Philander to Welegedara, FOUR, this is tail-ended entertainment at its best! Length ball angling in from outside off, and he looks to scythe it through the off side. He ends up inside-edging it through square leg for four. What fun.

End of over 47 (9 runs) Sri Lanka 179/8

    • UWMBCA Welegedara 4 (1b 1x4)
    • HMRKB Herath 13 (15b 2x4)
    • VD Philander 13-2-53-5
    • Imran Tahir 6-0-22-1

Here comes Steyn, at long last.

47.1

Steyn to Herath, 1 run, length ball at pace, angles across Herath who cuts to deep point for one.

47.2

Steyn to Welegedara, no run, expert cut shot from the crease from Chanaka, would have been perfect if he played down the correct line. The ball was a mile away though, outside off, and swinging further away.

Three slips in place.

47.3

Steyn to Welegedara, OUT, Steyn sends the off stump on a roller-coaster ride. Chanaka stays on leg stump line, the feet are just incidental to his batting, and looks to heave in hope. Length ball from Steyn, angles in, lands on middle and off and straightens past the shot to smash the stump out of its groove. I think it is still cart-wheeling.

UWMBCA Welegedara b Steyn 4 (5m 3b 1x4 0x6) SR: 133.33

"The Great man Tendulkar is the most compared with guy this game has seen. Starting from Past generation Viv, Don to his generation Ricky, Dravid, Kallis to the new generation of Rohit and Bell. No one has ever been compared with so many people. And in the end we know he betters them all if not to Don and Viv. This shows the impact of his greatness." That is Shubham's argument. Meanwhile, here is No. 11, Fernando.

47.4

Steyn to Fernando, OUT, those stumps must be sore now! They are lasered out of their groove once again, and you can almost hear them sighing, "Oh no, not again". Similar ball to the previous one, only faster - 147 kph, lands on a length and straightens like a missile guided at off stump would. Fernando is not in line and swishes the bat in hope. The ball misses and scuds out off stump. SL lose 7 for 104 in the session.

CRD Fernando b Steyn 0 (2m 1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Quite a turnaround in the second half of that session. SL were 150-odd for 4, with Thilan and Mathews looking good. Vernon then came on, UDRS played its part, and things changed rapidly. Steyn then came on to gun out the tail. It is tea in Centurion, and Alex Winter will be back around 3.30 pm for more.

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Hours of play (local time) 10.30am start, Lunch 12.30-13.10, Tea 15.10-15.30, Close 17.30

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