Sri Lanka was made to follow on after slumping from 149-2 to 239 all out yesterday in reply to South Africa’s daunting 580-4 declared in the series-deciding third Test at Newlands.
Fast bowlers Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn had three wickets each as Sri Lanka lost 8-90 in 34.5 overs in their first innings to be rolled out just after lunch on the third day, putting South Africa within sight of a first home series win in more than three years.
The tourists were 42-1 and still 299 runs behind in their second innings at tea, facing a fourth series defeat in four Test tours to South Africa. With Sri Lanka solid on 149-2 overnight, Steyn (3-56) removed Kumar Sangakkara with the third ball of the day to begin the first-innings slide, while Philander continued an impressive start to Test cricket with 3-46, and then the early strike in Sri Lanka’s second innings, for a total of 28 wickets halfway through his fourth Test.
Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan top-scored with 78 in the first-innings effort, but was out late on Wednesday and the rest offered little resistance in response to South Africa’s big total, surrendering a first-innings deficit of 341. Wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Chandimal made 35 in his second Test, but was last man out to Morne Morkel (2-74). Legspinner Imran Tahir returned 2-54 as South Africa’s bowling unit ripped through Sri Lankan to close in on a first Test series victory at home since beating Bangladesh in late 2008.
Following their first-innings collapse, Sri Lanka needs to better their highest Test score in the country — currently 338 — just to make South Africa bat again.
The tourists also lost Dilshan in the fourth over of their second innings to Philander and they were facing a monumental task to save the Test and the series, which is level at 1-1.
Top-ranked test bowler Steyn earlier dismissed top-ranked batsman Sangakkara (35) when the left-hander hit a wide delivery straight to Hashim Amla at point in the first over. Steyn also had the crucial wicket of Mahela Jayawardene for 30, caught by Jacques Kallis at second slip, and dismissed Angelo Mathews 20 minutes before the lunch break.
Vernon Philander removed Thilan Samaraweera as Sri Lanka lost him, Jayawardene and Mathews for 10 runs. Legspinner Tahir bowled Thisara Perera in the final over of the morning’s play as Sri Lanka stumbled to 219-7 at the end of a damaging first session.