Second Test


Toss: Sri Lanka. Test debut: H. D. P. K. Dharmasena.

This match provided South Africa's biggest Test win and Sri Lanka's heaviest defeat; it was completed before lunch on the fourth day as the Sri Lankan batsmen were overwhelmed by pace. Schultz, in his fourth Test, took nine wickets for 106 on a pitch with more bounce than any other in Sri Lanka, although by most standards it was ideal for batting. South Africa returned to a pace-oriented attack, adding McMillan and Snell at the expense of batsman Cook and spinner Eksteen; Sri Lanka also included an extra pace bowler, Ramanayake, and brought in Dharmasena, who bowls off-cutters, for the slow left-armer Wijetunge.

With Donald restricted to 12 overs by a minor tendinitis problem in his left knee, Schultz made the most of his chance and had all the batsmen in difficulty. He should have had both openers (both were dropped by Cullinan at slip) even before Mahanama was caught behind in the sixth over. Though Hathurusinghe survived for almost three hours and De Silva and Jayasuriya batted attractively, Sri Lanka were all out shortly after tea, with Schultz taking five wickets in a Test innings for the first time.

South Africa's grip tightened on the second day, with Wessels and Hudson taking their opening partnership to 137 before Hudson was dismissed in the 60th over. Wessels seemed set for a hundred until he misjudged Muralitharan's flight, but Cronje and Cullinan continued relentlessly as South Africa reached 280 for two, already 112 ahead, on the second day. Unshaken by the loss of three partners in seven overs next morning, Cronje completed his second Test hundred just after lunch. He eventually fell for 122, but Symcox and Snell then provided the most aggressive batting of the match. They took full advantage of tiring bowlers to put on 79 in 71 minutes for the eighth wicket. In the circumstances, Muralitharan's second five-wicket haul of the series, conceding fewer than two runs an over in a 54-over stint, represented outstanding bowling.

Resuming 327 behind, Sri Lanka began their second innings disastrously. They lost both openers in the first three overs and went into the rest day at a hopeless 49 for four. Their two most experienced batsmen, De Silva and Ranatunga, were still at the crease, but Ranatunga was out to Schultz without addition on the fourth morning and De Silva went to Donald 20 minutes later. The rest was a formality. Wickremasinghe briefly lifted Sri Lankan spirits by hitting two sixes off Snell before being caught on the square leg boundary attempting a third.

Man of the Match: B. N. Schultz.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 48-0 (K. C. Wessels 19*, A. C. Hudson 19*); Second day, South Africa 280-2 (W. J. Cronje 54*, D. J. Cullinan 52*); Third day, Sri Lanka 49-4 (P. A. De Silva 22*, A. Ranatunga 14*).

© John Wisden & Co