Tour match, Colombo (PSS), July 07 - 08, 2018, South Africa tour of Sri Lanka

Match drawn


Shamsi stakes claim for first Test with five-for

Mathews shows form and fitness to make 92 for hosts; Steyn undergoes proper workout on humid day

South Africa XI 17 for 1 trail Sri Lanka Board XI 287 (Mathews 92, Kaushal Silva 76; Shamsi 5-45) by 270 runs
Left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi made a strong claim to a place in the South Africa's XI for the first Test by taking 5 for 45 in the first day of the warm-up encounter against the Sri Lanka Board XI at P Sara Oval in Colombo. For the hosts, Angelo Mathews batted himself into form, making 92. Danushka Gunathilaka also hit a half century, but Dhananjaya de Silva and Roshen Silva - the two other batsmen in the main Sri Lanka squad, were less successful, collecting 28 and 0 respectively.
Sri Lanka Board XI's batsmen had been cruising on a surface unsuited for fast bowling, before Shamsi began to strike midway through the second session. Having been 2 for 151, the Board XI was eventually dismissed for 287, Nos. 5 to 11 collecting three ducks and two single-figure scores between them.
Save for one Lungi Ngidi wicket, and one run out, the remaining Board XI wickets fell to spin - uncapped legspinner Shaun von Berg taking 2 for 82. Left-arm orthodox spinner Keshav Maharaj did not bowl, with South Africa perhaps unwilling to give the Sri Lanka batsmen in this side a sighter of one of their key bowlers.
The visitors will be encouraged, though, that even without the services of their main spinner, Shamsi was still capable of running through a strong Board XI middle order. His first wicket, that of Test incumbent Roshen Silva, was a beauty. The tossed up delivery drew him forward, only to dip to beat his shot and rattle the stumps. Two overs later, he slid a delivery into the pads of Minod Bhanuka, who was attempting a sweep. Through that period of play, the Board XI lost four wickets for 22 runs.
Though largely unsuccessful on an unfriendly pitch, South Africa's main seamers had long workouts on a humid day. Of mild concern may be the form and fitness of Dale Steyn, who gave away 52 runs across his 12 overs. He did, however, fire in effective bouncers, even hitting Kaushal Silva on the head on one occasion. Kagiso Rabada and Ngidi nevertheless appeared more threatening in their early spells - Ngidi raising a close caught-behind appeal early in Mathews' innings.
Gunathilaka's 53 off 66 balls may just be enough to have him considered for the vacant opening position. He had hit nine fours in his innings, before holing out to mid-on attempting another one, off von Berg. Kaushal Silva is not in the Test squad, but did his best to suggest that he should not be totally jettisoned from Sri Lanka's future plans, making a steady 76 off 119 balls, before a mix-up with Mathews saw both batsmen almost end up at the same end. Silva, having called the run, only for his partner not to respond, could not return to his crease before the return throw came in from mid-on.
Dhananjaya de Silva looked excellent against both seam and spin early in his innings, and will perhaps kick himself for the mistake that cost him his wicket. Having just whipped von Berg for four through mid wicket, he ran at the bowler expecting a full delivery. He did not get to the pitch of the ball though, and bunted it tamely to short cover.
South Africa faced four overs before stumps and lost the wicket of Aiden Markram, who was bowled by Lahiru Gamage.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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