South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje’s career-best 6-56 skittled injury-hit Sri Lanka for 157 on day one of the second Test in Johannesburg before Dean Elgar’s 92 not out from 119 deliveries cemented the Proteas’ position of dominance.
Sri Lanka had reached 71-1 from 20 overs after electing to bat, principally through Kusal Perera (60 from 67 balls), who struck 11 fours as he bossed a second-wicket stand of 52 with the recalled Lahiru Thirimanne (17).
However, the left-hander’s dismissal – caught at gully of Wiaan Mulder (3-25) – triggered a collapse of nine wickets for 86 runs at Wanderers Stadium, with Nortje taking his second Test five-wicket haul, having claimed his first against England on the same ground in January 2020.
Elgar then raced to the second-quickest of his 16 Test fifties, from 70 balls, and ended the day eight runs short of a 13th hundred having propelled South Africa to 148-1 by stumps, a deficit of only nine runs.
The left-hander, who has struck 16 fours, shared an unbroken second-wicket stand of 114 with Rassie van der Dussen (40no) as the Proteas continued to control Sri Lanka, having won the opening Test by an innings.
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January 4, 2021, 7:55am
Nortje had Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind for an obdurate two from 32 balls in the 10th over after the tourists had won the toss, the visiting skipper gloving a superb rising ball behind.
Karunaratne would have been pleased with the way Perera attacked en route to a 54-ball, sixth Test fifty but then saw his side – without middle-order batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva and pace bowlers Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha through injury – collapse.
Mulder had three wickets for one run from three overs before lunch, which Sri Lanka entered on 84-5 after losing four wickets for 13 runs.
Mulder dismissed Perera and Kusal Mendis (0) in the same over and then Thirimanne in his next before Nortje banished debutant Minod Bhanuka (5) with the final delivery of the opening session.
Nortje then struck in the second over after lunch to remove Niroshan Dickwella (7) as captain Quinton de Kock took a superb grab leaping to his left, one of five catches for the wicketkeeper on the day.
Nortje and De Kock combined again to have Dasun Shanaka (4) caught behind – Sri Lanka’s collapse 6-39 at that point – but Wanindu Hasaranga (29 off 27) and Dushmantha Chameera (22 off 29) then held the Proteas up with a counterpunching eighth-wicket stand of 39.
Lutho Sipamla, though, had Hasaranga caught behind from the first ball after the drinks break and Nortje promptly had Chameera pouched on the pull to complete his five-for before splattering the stumps of Sri Lanka’s second debutant, Asitha Fernando, for the innings-ending wicket.
Asitha’s day improved when he had Aiden Markram (5) caught low at slip in the eighth over of South Africa’s innings for a first Test wicket but there would be no further breakthroughs.
Elgar scored quickly and looked at one point that he would reach three figures before stumps, while Van der Dussen picked up his pace after a slow start which had seen him notch three runs from his first 33 balls.
Watch day two of the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka, from Johannesburg, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.55am on Monday.
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