South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day January 5, 2012

Steyn the freak and Kallis the cat

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the third day of the third Test at Cape Town

Bad start of the day
Sri Lanka's coach, Geoff Marsh, stressed the importance of a solid start for his side on the third morning, especially from the two stalwart batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara abandoned all thoughts of anything resembling that when he lashed out at a Dale Steyn delivery. It was just the third ball of the morning and was also the widest delivery Sangakkara was offered in his innings. Instead of leaving it alone, he went after it. A rash drive found the edge and Hashim Amla at point, who took a simple catch to start the dominoes that became the Sri Lankan batting line-up.

Surrender of the day
Sri Lanka lost eight wickets in little over a session and as each one fell, their determination diminished, the fight fizzled and their eagerness evaporated. Dinesh Chandimal, who has showed maturity and promise on the tour so far, characterised the sense of wasted opportunity when he hung his bat out to Morne Morkel. The attempted drive produced only an edge but when Mark Boucher collected the catch he simply applauded Morkel in the usual fashion. No-one, except Amla, seemed to realise that the Sri Lankan innings had ended but Chandimal knew. He walked off, looking over his shoulder, only to see if South Africa would enforce the follow-on. With shoulders drooped and a forlorn expression on his face, all he was missing was a white flag.

Clang of the day
Morne Morkel had just been given a vote of confidence, when Graeme Smith brought him back on to finish Sri Lanka's first innings. He got the nod a second time a little later when he was introduced immediately after Vernon Philander made the initial breakthrough. Morkel should have been rewarded in this third over as Lahiru Thirimanne sent a thin edge Boucher's way but was denied in heart-breaking fashion. Boucher did not need to move, look around or even think but somehow managed to spill the catch in front of the slips.

Throw of the day
Rob Walter, South Africa's fitness trainer, once told Dale Steyn he is a freak. "I can just run longer than other people or do more sit-ups," Steyn said. And it turns out he also probably has superior ball skills as well. During a slight lull in play, Steyn showed off his talent when Sangakkara defended one back to him. Steyn picked the ball up, turned to return to his mark and with his back to the stumps at the striker's end, hurled in a throw and managed to knock them down. Sangakkara was in no danger but smiled at the terrific effort.

Surprise of the day
Sri Lanka were quietly chipping away at the deficit and South Africa's strike bowlers needed a rest so Graeme Smith did what any leader would - put himself in the firing line. The unfamiliar sight of the big-boned Smith readying himself to bowl offspin took most, including his wife who tweeted about it, by surprise. Smith has not bowled in a Test match for exactly a year - he had brought himself on for four overs against India at Newlands. Although Smith offered generous, flighted deliveries, Sri Lanka were cautious against him.

Slip catch of the day
After taking a dig at the local journalists for suggesting that his reflexes and his eyesight in particular were starting to wane, Jacques Kallis went on to make them eat their words with his performance in the field. He took four catches at second slip, none better than the one he gobbled up to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene. Jayawardene was caught on the crease by a Morkel short ball and fended it to Kallis, who had to shift to his right and bend down low to get his hands around the ball. With supreme ease, Kallis timed his moved exactly right and pounced like a cat to put South Africa firmly in control.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent