Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd Test, SSC, 3rd day July 26, 2014

Sri Lanka take big lead despite Amla ton

81

Play 02:06
Arnold: SL favourites, but should play positively

Sri Lanka 421 and 11 for 0 lead South Africa 282 (Amla 139*, Perera 5-69, Herath 4-71) by 150 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa need only a draw at the SSC to regain the coveted No. 1 Test ranking and they batted as if that was their sole objective. Since the start of the innings midway through the second day, their batsmen have only been bothered about consuming time, deeming run-scoring as an unnecessary frivolity. Hashim Amla ground his way to his 22nd Test century, the first by a South African captain in Sri Lanka, and the second slowest of his career to avert the follow-on but not a 139-run first-innings deficit.

The other batsmen didn't have the runs to match the amounts of time they spent in the middle which meant that Sri Lanka's spinners were never put under pressure and were allowed to wheel away accurate over after accurate over. The pitch was no minefield, which made the South African strategy even harder to comprehend. There was turn, but nothing alarming. There were no grubbers or high-jumpers. And South Africa have some of the world's best batsmen against spin.

JP Duminy's 58-ball 3 was the South African innings in microcosm. He wasn't scoring runs, but he wasn't getting beaten, nor was he in serious trouble. There was a severe lack of intent though as he blocked or padded away everything that he could. He played 49 consecutive dot balls, before finally missing one and was stumped after the ball deflected off his pad.

The day began with Sri Lanka using their only quick to bounce the batsmen from round the wicket, not a tactic that flustered the overnight pair of Amla and AB de Villiers much. Suranga Lakmal overstepped regularly as well and was struck for three fours in an over by de Villiers. That made it five boundaries in seven deliveries as Amla had just put away a wayward Ajantha Mendis for a couple of fours. After dead-batting almost everything on Friday, South Africa started the day with more vigour.

However, once Sri Lanka decided to give their two best bowlers, Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath, extended spells, the scoring rate went comatose again. South Africa had only made 14 runs in nine overs before Perera made the breakthroughs that derailed them.

Perera isn't a big turner of the ball, but he got it to spin just enough to beat the inside edge as de Villiers looked to defend and got him lbw. Two balls later, he got one to spin just enough again to beat the outside edge of the left-handed Quinton de Kock and take the off stump. In a matter of minutes, South Africa had squandered what they gained over hours of attritional cricket.

In football, all-out defence is seen as a safe strategy. Here, South Africa's all-out defence is a high-risk tactic as that Perera over showed.

Still, Amla persevered, solid as ever. He unveiled some breathtaking inside-out drives against the spinners, typical whiplash punches off Lakmal, got both pads in front of the stumps to make an impassable wall if the ball pitched outside leg, and generally hanging on the back foot and trusting himself to adjust well enough to keep out any danger.

It was a monumental effort from him, the sixth longest by an overseas batsman in Sri Lanka and he remained unconquered after facing 382 deliveries. He has consumed more than 350 deliveries in an innings five times, and he has remained unbeaten on all those occasions.

For a while, it looked as if South Africa might struggle to avoid the follow-on, even with Amla going strong. Their cricketing catenaccio strategy would have been a complete failure if they had been forced to bat again. That didn't come to pass, though, as the tail gamely supported Amla. Dale Steyn took up 71 deliveries before holing out going for a third six, Imran Tahir used up an hour after tea before South Africa were bowled out near the close of play.

Though Sri Lanka have a sizeable lead, one concern for them is the workload of their main spinners, Herath and Perera. Both have already bowled more than 40 overs in the match, after sharing more than 150 overs in Galle. Mendis is the third specialist spinner but he struggled for line and length, forcing Mathews to give him only short spells. Sri Lanka will need more from him as they press for a series-levelling win over the next two days.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Surajrises on July 27, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Sad to see Amla to be much more defensive than Alaistar Cook as a Captain. Cricketing Legends are not mad to time and again say that if you have to be No1 then you have to think & perform like a No1 Team. This is really sad especially the way SA batted on 2nd & 3rd day and the way JP Duminy played his innings of 3 off 58 balls in which he made a world record of 49 consecutive dots! Unbelievable. But in a way it would be enough for the selectors to know that AB will be the right guy to lead SA and not Amla because it could well happen that Amla loses his confidence as a batsman once he becomes responsible for losing No1 status. Plus he will be sacked. SL have a good lead right now and I have a feeling that the pitch will deteriorate by this evening or max tomorrow morning and that could be curtains for SA and their No 1 Ranking. Just can't gulp such defensive Captaincy either by Alaistar Cook nor Hashim Amla.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 27, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    Seems like Sri Lanka's plans are coming along nicely. In my humble opinion, all three results are still possible, obviously with a lot resting on the declaration. I wonder, will Angleo Matthews be thinking of the very recent past when Pakistan chased down ~350 in less than a day? (feel free to correct the digits but I think was along those lines).

    Matthews seems to have turned a corner since then and I like what I've seen so far. The last match was lost due to batting collapses; losing a strike bowler wouldn't have helped either. But Matthews himself has been pretty golden so far, with bat and as captain. I wonder if he's inspired Dickwella in some way too? What a debut!

    As for South Africa, surely beneath the serene exterior of their new captain lies a burning desire to win? That said, I can see the advantages of for playing out a draw. Rankings aren't everyone's cup of tea but regaining the #1 spot on his first assignment as captain would probably be greatly appreciated by many

  • fan1099 on July 27, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    With styne closing on retirement and SA's negative tactics they will never be a proper no 1 team. It is just not being no1 statistically. what matters most is how you achieve it. Aussies and Windies did it with aplomb. Like I said before Kallis exemplifies what SA cricket is all about. Statistically superior but mediocre in attack, style, crowd pulling power etc.

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Good run rate by SL.. SL trying hard for a victory.. But SA seems to be trying fir a draw..

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Well pakistan has been great freind of SL through out the history... We both have a common enemy .. You know whom i talk about..We both defeated our enemy at asia cup and the final came between us... It prooved that Pakistan and sri lanka are the two giants in asia.. No One else..

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Now srilanka have to gain a lead about 320/350 by 2pm today and make a declaration with enough time. if they wait longer SA cud easily drag onto a draw. Need to take risks and confident.

  • dunger.bob on July 27, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    In for a penny, in for a pound so I'll finish what I started to say. .. Until SA decide that the way to go is to try to rip the opposition a new orifice each and every game they play, regardless of conditions, the opposition or the series/tournament situation, they will NEVER be regarded in quite the say light as the 2 genuine great teams in the history of the game. .. Too cosy, too coasty and just not mean enough to make the opposition quiver in it's boots. And all this at a time when you've probably got the players to do it with aplomb.

  • Sinhaya on July 27, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    @zarasochozarasamjho, thanks for supporting Sri Lanka as a Pakistani fan. Much appreciated as always. Looking forward to seeing Pakistan next month.

  • dunger.bob on July 27, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    I can see both sides of the argument about South Africa's tactics. From the SA pov they pretty much did the job in the first Test and can now slide comfortably into the style of cricket that has made them so damn hard to beat for so long. It's slow and it's attritional but it's what they're really good at and it's cruise time for them. .. All they have to do is coast home for a draw and it's hello #1.

    On the other hand, I hope it bites them on the backside because it's a tactic that let's the opposition steer the game around. A top side should never do that imo, but that's just my lowly opinion. .. I can tell you this much for certain though. SA will never shed their stodgy image until they start playing every game with the intensity and winning intent they showed in the first Test. .. old habits really are hard to break I suppose.

  • johnathonjosephs on July 27, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    It seems set up for a classic. Sri Lanka will try to bat for 2 sessions and get 300+ and South Africa will have to survive 4 sessions on a 4th day Sri Lankan pitch. Another classic Test Match after the 2nd Eng-Ind test and the 2nd Eng-SL test. Test Match cricket seems to be on the rise!

  • Surajrises on July 27, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Sad to see Amla to be much more defensive than Alaistar Cook as a Captain. Cricketing Legends are not mad to time and again say that if you have to be No1 then you have to think & perform like a No1 Team. This is really sad especially the way SA batted on 2nd & 3rd day and the way JP Duminy played his innings of 3 off 58 balls in which he made a world record of 49 consecutive dots! Unbelievable. But in a way it would be enough for the selectors to know that AB will be the right guy to lead SA and not Amla because it could well happen that Amla loses his confidence as a batsman once he becomes responsible for losing No1 status. Plus he will be sacked. SL have a good lead right now and I have a feeling that the pitch will deteriorate by this evening or max tomorrow morning and that could be curtains for SA and their No 1 Ranking. Just can't gulp such defensive Captaincy either by Alaistar Cook nor Hashim Amla.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 27, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    Seems like Sri Lanka's plans are coming along nicely. In my humble opinion, all three results are still possible, obviously with a lot resting on the declaration. I wonder, will Angleo Matthews be thinking of the very recent past when Pakistan chased down ~350 in less than a day? (feel free to correct the digits but I think was along those lines).

    Matthews seems to have turned a corner since then and I like what I've seen so far. The last match was lost due to batting collapses; losing a strike bowler wouldn't have helped either. But Matthews himself has been pretty golden so far, with bat and as captain. I wonder if he's inspired Dickwella in some way too? What a debut!

    As for South Africa, surely beneath the serene exterior of their new captain lies a burning desire to win? That said, I can see the advantages of for playing out a draw. Rankings aren't everyone's cup of tea but regaining the #1 spot on his first assignment as captain would probably be greatly appreciated by many

  • fan1099 on July 27, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    With styne closing on retirement and SA's negative tactics they will never be a proper no 1 team. It is just not being no1 statistically. what matters most is how you achieve it. Aussies and Windies did it with aplomb. Like I said before Kallis exemplifies what SA cricket is all about. Statistically superior but mediocre in attack, style, crowd pulling power etc.

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Good run rate by SL.. SL trying hard for a victory.. But SA seems to be trying fir a draw..

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Well pakistan has been great freind of SL through out the history... We both have a common enemy .. You know whom i talk about..We both defeated our enemy at asia cup and the final came between us... It prooved that Pakistan and sri lanka are the two giants in asia.. No One else..

  • on July 27, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Now srilanka have to gain a lead about 320/350 by 2pm today and make a declaration with enough time. if they wait longer SA cud easily drag onto a draw. Need to take risks and confident.

  • dunger.bob on July 27, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    In for a penny, in for a pound so I'll finish what I started to say. .. Until SA decide that the way to go is to try to rip the opposition a new orifice each and every game they play, regardless of conditions, the opposition or the series/tournament situation, they will NEVER be regarded in quite the say light as the 2 genuine great teams in the history of the game. .. Too cosy, too coasty and just not mean enough to make the opposition quiver in it's boots. And all this at a time when you've probably got the players to do it with aplomb.

  • Sinhaya on July 27, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    @zarasochozarasamjho, thanks for supporting Sri Lanka as a Pakistani fan. Much appreciated as always. Looking forward to seeing Pakistan next month.

  • dunger.bob on July 27, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    I can see both sides of the argument about South Africa's tactics. From the SA pov they pretty much did the job in the first Test and can now slide comfortably into the style of cricket that has made them so damn hard to beat for so long. It's slow and it's attritional but it's what they're really good at and it's cruise time for them. .. All they have to do is coast home for a draw and it's hello #1.

    On the other hand, I hope it bites them on the backside because it's a tactic that let's the opposition steer the game around. A top side should never do that imo, but that's just my lowly opinion. .. I can tell you this much for certain though. SA will never shed their stodgy image until they start playing every game with the intensity and winning intent they showed in the first Test. .. old habits really are hard to break I suppose.

  • johnathonjosephs on July 27, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    It seems set up for a classic. Sri Lanka will try to bat for 2 sessions and get 300+ and South Africa will have to survive 4 sessions on a 4th day Sri Lankan pitch. Another classic Test Match after the 2nd Eng-Ind test and the 2nd Eng-SL test. Test Match cricket seems to be on the rise!

  • fan1099 on July 27, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    SA are not playing like a no 1 team by being so defensive and playing boring cricket. This is why they have never won any world cups though being good performers. They just crumble in crunch situations. Regarding Kallis he never was a crowd puller or a dominant match winner. That is why we still speak about cricketers like Gower though they have much worse stats.

  • Sinhaya on July 27, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Great bowling by Dilruwan Perera. Definitely he has about 5 years of cricket left in him. He must add variety to his delieveries rather than being a standard off break bowler which wont help us win tests.

    My test team sans Sanga and Mahela.

    Kaushal Silva, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Mathews, Angelo Perera, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella, Tharindu Kaushal, Dilruwan Perara, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal.

    Reserves include Kusal Perera, Sachithra Senanayake and Binura Fernando.

    Sorry if I missed on anyone. My XI comprises of 9 bowlers except Kaushal Silva and Dickwella. If 4 main bowlers like Lakmal, Tharindu Kaushal, Dilruwan or Eranga fail, we have Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Mathews, Vithanage and Gunathilake as part time bowlers which is awesome for test cricket. Nine man bowling attack! Shehan Jayasuriya in domestic cricket has a batting average of 40 plus and a bowling average below 30 voho.

  • Greatest_Game on July 27, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    @ xylo believes that "Such defensive play is unbecoming of a No.1 sideā€¦..Luckily/thankfully, Sri Lanka are a side that takes some risks, and I am very optimistic of them winning this game."

    Sri Lanka were in full risk mode in the UAE when they dawdled along at about a run an over after Mathews dismissal. They really took huge risks to hurry the game up and set Pakistan a target of 302 in 59 overs.

    It is surprising, after, such risky batting, that SL were shocked to the core when Pakistan took them to the cleaners and ran up 302 in 57.3 overs. After all they had set Pak a target of 302 in the 1st test, and Pak got only halfway there in a draw.

    Risks - not too many. And you know SL are wary of getting thumped again in a 4th innings chase. We'll see how risky SL get in this match.

  • Sinhaya on July 27, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    Great bowling by Dilruwan Perera. Definitely he has about 5 years of cricket left in him. He must add variety to his delieveries rather than being a standard off break bowler which wont help us win tests.

    My test team sans Sanga and Mahela.

    Kaushal Silva, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Mathews, Angelo Perera, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella, Tharindu Kaushal, Dilruwan Perara, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal.

    Reserves include Kusal Perera, Sachithra Senanayake and Binura Fernando.

    Sorry if I missed on anyone. My XI comprises of 9 bowlers except Kaushal Silva and Dickwella. If 4 main bowlers like Lakmal, Tharindu Kaushal, Dilruwan or Eranga fail, we have Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Mathews, Vithanage and Gunathilake as part time bowlers which is awesome for test cricket. Nine man bowling attack! Shehan Jayasuriya in domestic cricket has a batting average of 40 plus and a bowling average below 30 voho.

  • Htc-Android on July 27, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa. Well winning a toss is a 50-50 chance. That ensures every team has equal chance to win a test in SL. But its not the case in places like India and England. They only make wickets favouring the home side.

  • Greatest_Game on July 27, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 Thanks for your predictions of the games outcome. I feel so much better now.

    You wrote SL are "150 up on this pitch.Will look to pile it on tom.,for spinners to polish off SA in 2nd inng..So waiting for spin trio to finish it off in 2 days time."

    As as the only known constant in cricket is that your predictions are inevitably wrong, I feel much better about SA's chances. SL certainly hold a big advantage, and I felt the game was heading their way, but now that you have spoken, SA's chances have improved dramatically.

    Keep up the good work!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 26, 2014, 21:57 GMT

    I am really disappointed with cricket Sri Lanka. They keep producing pitches that are decided by the outcome of the Toss. If Sri Lanka had won the Toss in Galle they would have won the game - guaranteed. I think its a very sad approach to have to the game. Its not a fair contest and makes for poor spectator viewing.

    In the recent SA vs Aus series, the pitch offered something for everyone. One team could win a session, they other opposition bounce back and win the next session. So you have this entertaining game that keeps swinging in different directions. Here, its pretty much one way traffic for the team that bats first.

    Back to this Test, it will be interesting to see what Matthews sets as a Target. Anything over 350 is very defensive. Hope SA can hold on for a draw to claim No.1

  • xylo on July 26, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    Such defensive play is unbecoming of a No.1 side. It is so sad to see everyone who has had the mantle since Australia - India, England, and South Africa, play such negative cricket. When Australia were #1 in the Warne McGrath days, they always played for a result, whether or not they won them. That made for interesting cricket for the fans. Luckily/thankfully, Sri Lanka are a side that takes some risks, and I am very optimistic of them winning this game.

  • vkumar_086 on July 26, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    SA should try to win the test first...with the likes of Amla, ABD, Faf, Duminy, it is EASY for them to do so....if target is really difficult, then only try to draw the test...this is one good opportunity for SA to win the test series in SL for the first time...i hope SA utilize it well...tomorrows final session will be very important for SA...common SA do it

  • Greatest_Game on July 26, 2014, 18:35 GMT

    Amla succeeded where the rest failed because of his thoughtful and varied mix of attacking and defensive play. His defense was solidly appropriate for the balls bowled, yet never entirely predictable. Similarly, he attacked and accumulated runs, instead of only defending, and did not allow the bowlers to dominate and manipulate his play. He did not over think his play. He did not pick one strategy and blindly stick with it. He responded to the demands of the game, and did not expect the game to respond to his demands.

    If he wishes to have any success as captain, he will need to respond to the needs of the conditions and circumstances, and ensure he takes the field with the players appropriate for that field, on that day. He will need to teach those players not to over think and stick blindly to failing strategies, but to respond to the demands of the game. And, he will have to overcome a blindly stubborn team management and culture.

    That will be tougher than the innings he played.

  • on July 26, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    Sri Lanka well on top, it seems that winning the Toss is what decides the game down in Sri Lanka. Hoping the proteas can survive, a series win will be so memorable!

  • on July 26, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    Amla was good...but he should know how to bat with lower order batsmen..

  • vkumar_086 on July 26, 2014, 17:50 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 ...lions lost the ODI series in their own den to SA...if the target is difficult, then surely SA will try to draw the test...will win the series by 1-0...after India and Aus, SA will be the third team to win both test and ODI series in lanka...

  • on July 26, 2014, 17:47 GMT

    @ proudly_sa 47 with a run rate of just 2.09 Can't win tests it's more to drawing a test which isn't watch champions look for but can't take away anything from the SA they lost wickets regularly which resulted for the poor run rate anyway its SL who are suppose to make a move since they need to square the series

  • Kinguru007. on July 26, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    Amla is a class act. His focusing is amazing. If you look at his eyes very closely when he's facing the ball you clearly can see how focus he is. Even though SL has the upper hand after Dilruwan's five-for's or Mahela's 165, Hashim innings stands out as one of the best in Sri lanka. But his innings will be in vain if SA don't get the wickets ASAP tomorrow morning. For the time being my team is driving safely for series levelling game.

  • zarasochozarasamjho on July 26, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    As a Pakistan supporter and wishing SL to win, I must say that SA are not obliged to lose the game. Instead of praising their mind set for trying to get back their number 1 position. it is interpreted as something negative. If SA is defensive, then it does not stop SL for an all-out attack strategy; such as having nearly all their fielders close to the bat. Will SL try this given that a SA victory remains a possibility?

  • Beertjie on July 26, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    Great effort by Amla. AB might reprise this in the second knock but SA are unlikely to survive 4 sessions. The follow-on wouldn't/shouldn't have been enforced anyway, so some rest for the spinners until tea. Games shouldn't be decided by who wins the toss, but like Galle, this one will probably be. However, all of the above is predicated on two full days of cricket. This may not be so, as @Rahul_PS on (July 26, 2014, 12:34 GMT): "Forecast shows rain in coming days. Could that influence the result of the game?" You betcha!

  • Proudly_SA.47 on July 26, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    To all of you criticising the run rate, bare in mind that this is Test cricket, not a T20 match. You play to the situation in Test cricket. So it is very important to understand this. SA are not playing this test or any other test to entertain you. They are, as always, playing to win - even if that means boring you to death. That is what winners do - they play to win, however hard it is, however long it takes, however boring some may find it. If it gets too boring, watching replays of the ODI series or the T20 WC or even IPL may entertain you?

  • vkumar_086 on July 26, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 ...lions lost the ODI series in their own den to SA...if the target is difficult, then surely SA will try to draw the test...will win the series by 1-0...after India and Aus, SA will be the third team to win both test and ODI series in lanka...

  • RoshanF on July 26, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    Amla was stubborn and was brilliant when looking to attack alright but what a miss when he was on 93 off the unlucky Lakmal. Had that catch been taken the lead for SL may well have been 200+. Still if they approach it positively this match is at the Lankans mercy.

  • Herath-UK on July 26, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    Now that Dilruwan is assured of a place in the team will he be given advice to improve his batting too.

  • vkumar_086 on July 26, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 ...lions lost the ODI series in their own den to SA...if the target is difficult, then surely SA will try to draw the test...will win the series by 1-0...after India and Aus, SA will be the third team to win both test and ODI series in lanka...

  • cric1965 on July 26, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Ajantha Mendis has to improve his game. He has to find new deliveries.Now he is giving so many runs to opponents. Otherwise his future is bleak.

  • cric1965 on July 26, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    South Africa wants to draw this test to win the series. So Sri Lanka has to give minimum 120 overs and 300 runs target. This pitch on 5th day will not easy to survive not only score runs also.

  • nimalgamage on July 26, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    What is the point of including Ajantha Mendis over and over again. Do any one expecting him to be a mystery spinner still. Wonder is even tailenders can easily survive his mystery bowls present. He cannot spin the bowl at all just players can play him as a medium pacer.

    Why selectors are not including youngster like Tharindu Kausal in to the team who is consistently performing in the domestic circuit. Even he can't find a place in the SL A squad tour to England is highly disappointing. Atleast give him a chance in the next Pakistan series in place of these passengers such as Ajantha.

    I also don't happy with the inclusion of Dhammika Prasad. Yes he have perform well in only one innings in England tour but largely inconsistent all the way his career.

    But happy with the exclusion of Chandimal and Thirimanne and including Dickwella. If players have to be in the team they have to perform regularly. Selectors also need to consider giving Kusal also a place in the Pak test series

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    where is Suraj Randiv. he might done much better than Mendis if play in this match.

  • Lion83 on July 26, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    SL need to have a lead of 350 and bowl at least 35 overs tomorrow at SA. 350 is enough because SA only looking to draw and they will not chase anything over 300.

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    SA are just going to play for a draw. So they can win the series and regain the number 1 test ranking.

  • saifkhanBD on July 26, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    Match situation dictates how you go about playing, especially on a placid wicket where your top order folds cheaply against spinners and you desperately seek to build partnerships to claw your way back to the match. Those harping about Amla's defensive approach and suffering from selective amnesia should read about his declaration in the previous match. He plays to win and his only fault today was batting cautiously to avoid the follow-on. Perhaps, he could have asked the tail-enders to throw their bat around and hope for runs!! That would have been aggressive captaincy.

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    amla played bririlliantly given the situation of the game

  • i700rox on July 26, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    Dickwella had a good debut with the bat but not reliable behind the stumps, bring back the safe hands of Prasanna for next test series

  • sevillano on July 26, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Just a remark about the review system. My opinion is that the rules of the game should try to favour correct decision making concerning out / not out. The review should help to prevent dreadful mistakes by correcting obvious errors. It seems to me reasonable that there should be a limit to the number of unsuccessful reviews allowed to each team, BUT I do not think that it is just that a team should be doubly penalised when a review is adjudged as "Umpire's call". In these cases, it is certainly correct to uphold the umpire's decision, which was evidently a reasonable one, but the review request was also evidently a reasonable one, so, in my opinion, it should not be penalised by the loss of a right to review another decision.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 26, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    No.1 position looks safe,as game stands now,in hand of its current holders,Clarkes young Aussies.And rightly so.Aussies slightly ahead of SA,though these 2 are well ahead of rest.So waiting for spin trio to finish it off in 2 days time.All the best,SL!

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    All those negative comments about how boring this test is have no idea or are stuck in this t20 racket hit and run nonsense. This is compelling cricket. Sl need to make another 200 to be sure. And then you have to be sure you can get sa out , sl in command but not over yet.... good stuff

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    As a team, you gotto be adjust yourselves to any kind of turf.. or any kind of condition. SL lost ODIS at Windy Hambanthota. Even warming Galle could give SA a win. So itz a wrong idea, if some one blame at SSC, when things are not going towards protease. SL is in the driving seat. But that doesn't mean.they are gonna win the game. itz all about 350 lead, and taking 10 wicketa in Four sessions. thatz where SA's slow defensive cricket can come to thier rescue..

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 26, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    SL are showing now why they they are the Lions in their den.Been commanding couple of days for them,are in dominant position for a big W to square series.Already 150 up on this pitch.Will look to pile it on tom.,for spinners to polish off SA in 2nd inng.

  • on July 26, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    grate bowling sl cridet goes batman too.to bowl at world number is verygood.

  • Rizwanodayar on July 26, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    Mendis is bowling too flat, if he give the ball little more air that put batsmen more uncertain territory.What he is doing now, just try to give one ball lttle bit flight, as soon as a boundary is consed he go back his defensive T20 bawling mode. Dilruan and Herath need all the support in 2nd inning to pressured the win.

  • nimalgamage on July 26, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    What is the point of including Ajantha Mendis over and over again. Do any one expecting him to be a mystery spinner still. Wonder is even tailenders can easily survive his mystery bowls present. He cannot spin the bowl at all just players can play him as a medium pacer.

    Why selectors are not including youngster like Tharindu Kausal in to the team who is consistently performing in the domestic circuit. Even he can't find a place in the SL A squad tour to England is highly disappointing. Atleast give him a chance in the next Pakistan series in place of these passengers such as Ajantha.

    I also don't happy with the inclusion of Dhammika Prasad. Yes he have perform well in only one innings in England tour but largely inconsistent all the way his career.

    But happy with the exclusion of Chandimal and Thirimanne and including Dickwella. If players have 2 b in the team they have to perform regularly. Selectors also need to consider giving Kusal Perera also a place in the Pak test series

  • Lassie.Perera on July 26, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    After second day of play Mahela said that S Africa's approach will be there downfall and it looks like that is the case. I think S Africa was little bit negative in this game and they should have scored few more runs quickly and reduce deficit. Now it looks like S Africa will have to chase 380 odds runs in 110 overs. (3 and a half sessions). Fourth innings against 3 good spinners, this is going to be very tough.

  • on July 26, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    this is why I hate test cricket. one of the worst test match.

  • Charindra on July 26, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    That was a horrible advertisement for test cricket. The pitch didn't help with its low, slow turn, but Amla was ultra defensive and it wasn't compelling at all.

  • Rahul_PS on July 26, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    SA have certainly done well after loosing wickets early on. Forecast shows rain in coming days. Could that influence the result of the game? SL have a healthy lead and now its just about taking a decision as when to put SA bat and take 10 wickets...gonna be an exciting 4th day of cricket

  • Herath-UK on July 26, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Sri Lanka should try another new spinner for the Pak series instead of Mendis, his venom has evaporated & Tharanga does not look the long term prospect to the opening berth.

  • on July 26, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Poor tactics by SA, by not scoring or playing their natural game, they allow the bowlers to build pressure when none should have existed. Either go for the win or go home.

  • on July 26, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    @Surajrises : We aren't #1, only if we win the series. Australia are current number 1 in tests.

  • on July 26, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    The brilliance of Herath and Perera can be seen from how Mendis wasn't able to put any pressure on SA batsmen. He wasn't as bad as Tahir, but he still wasn't consistent and even with all his variations, SA tailenders were able to play him. This shows how consistent Herath and Perera were to be able to put SA batsmen under such pressure and something that Tahir needs to take note of. Its not your variations which makes you successful in test cricket but your consistency

  • on July 26, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    From here Sri Lanka must win.

  • Surajrises on July 26, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    Hashim Amla's defensive approach is going to lose South Africa not only this match but also their No1 ranking in the Test Format. Amla is making things easy for AB Devilliers because the latter is a very aggressive Captain and at some point of time, he will take the charge of the Test side as wel..

  • on July 26, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    amlas couch missing is the big tuning point.. if its happen srilanka will have 250 lead now for sure ones again poor fielding gives srilanka lot of trabeles.i dont think amlas 130 is much sound as jayawardanas amla gives two chances wihel mahela gives nothing.if amlas first chance taken yesterday now the match is over.

  • amuni12 on July 26, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    What a great knock by Amla. He shows the patience and concentration at the crease. A good example for young cricketers. Tharanga is not a very good opening batsman although he has a lot of skills and talents. He could be better served SL in middle order. He offers few edges every time he opens. Sometime, he gets lucky and gets away from those chances. Hope SL will play positive cricket tomorrow.

  • CrICkeeet on July 26, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    Just the thing happen what i posted yesterday! its a risky tactic 4m south africa.. if they could bat 150-160 overs then u'v 2 praise their patience. but now they r bundled out in 134 ovrs nd under 300. neither they spoil the time nor reduce the trailing.... bdw, kudos to amla

  • therealutopianindigent on July 26, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Is Morne Morkel's much vaunted batting ability a myth? In Tests, anyway. No, South Africa did the right thing by trying to play riskless cricket. Their only hope is a draw. Runs don't mean anything now. Since this morning South Africa knew the only way to save this test was to bat for 7 sessions in the remaining 1.5 innings, regardless of the runs. 3 sessions sort of gone (though the last two wickets were squandered again), 4 more to go. In between they have to do some bowling, where the only thing that matters is keeping Sri Lanka out there as long as possible, in other words keep the run-rate down. It was heartening to see that Amla understands the proud legacy he has inherited from Smith: "The World #1 Test Cricket Squad does NOT lose a test." Amla batted with great heart, assisted by Steyn and, to a lesser extent, Tahir. Now for some disciplined bowling...can the captain inspire that too?

  • St.John on July 26, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    As Siddarth very correctly point out this pitch was no minefield and did not warrant Amla & Co.'s run crawl. This type of cricket is a key reason why even Boycott has publicly said that Test cricket wont exist beyond 2020.

  • AltafPatel on July 26, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    Would have Amla getting quick runs with Tahir's partnership looking at how easily Tahir was getting runs, they could have not only reduce deficit but also put pressure on SL bowlers.

  • on July 26, 2014, 10:46 GMT

    Probable draw of an another test match. Difference between SL and SA so much, just look at Amla and how patience compare to Sl front line batsman who are going to take runs from the very first ball. Compare the lower order of batting of SL with SA, After 6 th wicket down of SL rest of the bowlers cannot stay at the wicket even a couple of overs because they are not concentrating in batting . These are the loop holes of SL

  • Greatest_Game on July 26, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    South Africa's openers & lower middle order can hang their heads - Imran Tahir outscored them with one boundary! Why? Because he actually swung the bat, and did not just hold it out in from of him and hope to make contact. Defense is one thing - mindless capitulation is something else. Occupying the crease is critical, but without scoring runs it is totally pointless!

  • on July 26, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    This sort of pitches and strategy by SL deserve nothing better. SA is sending a message and its a good one. I hope SLC will get the message.

  • on July 26, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    If Peterson doesn't hit some runs soon he's got to go, doesn't he? Surely we have better. I'ld rather see DeKock open the batting and bring in another batsman under Duminy.

  • aby_97 on July 26, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Given the pitch, SL spinners should have bowled them out cheaply.But, it shows the resilience and patience of South African batsman and inability of Sri Lanka's bowling line up which produced one of the best spinners in the world.

  • SandipManjrekar on July 26, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    Even on slow & low track which has started to spin from Day 2, SL didn't manage to bowl them out Saffers within 108 overs with 4 spinners till now.

    What does it suggests?

    SA's resilience in alien conditions or SL's inability?

    In any case, SA outfit is true test cricket champions. No doubt about it.

    SL fans should applaud their counterparts for this feat rather than pulling legs under the tag of Boring Cricket. Mind it, it's home team's deficiency.

  • prij on July 26, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    calling sri lankan spin as quality on this pitch is saying like india's fast bowling as quality on green top of first day(even they have done better job given the circumstances presented to them). Quality spinner for srilanka was murali who was able to get the wicket at any circumstance with his quality bowling. I agree that SA have some problem against problem against playing spin and they don't world class spinner but still the way they have batted it shows their resilience and patience. no matter what is outcome of this match South Africa should be happy with their effort.

  • tiger1984 on July 26, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    First Hundred as Captain................All hail Mighty HAsh

  • HateCritics on July 26, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I dont think this pitch carries any absolute horror! SL bowlers are just doing good bowling.SA should have increased their run rate. They are in the same pressure from where they left off yesterday.u need to shift the momentum.but thats not happening here.

  • on July 26, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Good bowling by SL

  • HateCritics on July 26, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Amla is playing a gem of an innings.what immense patience this guy has.surely having a captain's knock. now someone should help him to build up some partnership.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 26, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Sri Lanka go into a Test match with one fast bowler (with an average of 45...) and 3 spinners. And what do we do? Go into a Test match with 3 Seamers and one spinner (who bowls a buffet ball every over). Surely when the home-side loads 3 spinners into their team, something should tell SA Management that the pitch the Sri Lankans have requested will turn into a minefield by day 3 and be a spinners dream?

  • Damian123 on July 26, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    Though individual contributions help, cricket is a team game. Irrespective of who's better out of Kallis and Mahela, Sri Lanka had been to SIX World Cup Finals and won TWO in their short history. Score for South Africa? ZERO!

  • CrICkeeet on July 26, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    No matter what is on the board, if SAF can bat 150+ overs, then their job is done i guess.... no way 2 make a result then....

  • Mervo on July 26, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    These slow low wickets produce such boring cricket. They are based on desperation and lead to frustration.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 26, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Pitch breaking up into pieces on Day 3. Disgraceful.

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  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 26, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Pitch breaking up into pieces on Day 3. Disgraceful.

  • Mervo on July 26, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    These slow low wickets produce such boring cricket. They are based on desperation and lead to frustration.

  • CrICkeeet on July 26, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    No matter what is on the board, if SAF can bat 150+ overs, then their job is done i guess.... no way 2 make a result then....

  • Damian123 on July 26, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    Though individual contributions help, cricket is a team game. Irrespective of who's better out of Kallis and Mahela, Sri Lanka had been to SIX World Cup Finals and won TWO in their short history. Score for South Africa? ZERO!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on July 26, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Sri Lanka go into a Test match with one fast bowler (with an average of 45...) and 3 spinners. And what do we do? Go into a Test match with 3 Seamers and one spinner (who bowls a buffet ball every over). Surely when the home-side loads 3 spinners into their team, something should tell SA Management that the pitch the Sri Lankans have requested will turn into a minefield by day 3 and be a spinners dream?

  • HateCritics on July 26, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Amla is playing a gem of an innings.what immense patience this guy has.surely having a captain's knock. now someone should help him to build up some partnership.

  • on July 26, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Good bowling by SL

  • HateCritics on July 26, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I dont think this pitch carries any absolute horror! SL bowlers are just doing good bowling.SA should have increased their run rate. They are in the same pressure from where they left off yesterday.u need to shift the momentum.but thats not happening here.

  • tiger1984 on July 26, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    First Hundred as Captain................All hail Mighty HAsh

  • prij on July 26, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    calling sri lankan spin as quality on this pitch is saying like india's fast bowling as quality on green top of first day(even they have done better job given the circumstances presented to them). Quality spinner for srilanka was murali who was able to get the wicket at any circumstance with his quality bowling. I agree that SA have some problem against problem against playing spin and they don't world class spinner but still the way they have batted it shows their resilience and patience. no matter what is outcome of this match South Africa should be happy with their effort.