Opener Dean Elgar produced an immense effort of concentration to make 89 as South Africa, reaching 224-6, built a 191-run lead after the fourth day of the first Test, which New Zealand made tense with three late wickets.
After achieving his highest Test score of 140 in just less than seven hours in South Africa’s first innings of 308 — later surpassed by New Zealand’s 341 — Elgar batted for six hours in cold, dark and difficult conditions yesterday to thwart the home side.
Over those two innings Elgar occupied the University Oval crease for 13 hours, coping with a pitch that was slow and low on the first day and which had become worn and treacherous when he batted through most of the fourth day before falling close to stumps.
The left-hander seemed set to become the seventh South African to score centuries in both innings of a Test before making an uncharacteristic error inside the last hour, scooping a catch from the bowling of off-spinner Jeetan Patel to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Patel featured in New Zealand’s late rally, dismissing Elgar, then bowling Quinton de Kock (four), while fellow spinner Mitchell Santner bowled Temba Bavuma (six) to keep the match closely poised.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis achieved his 11th Test half-century and ended the day on 56 not out, while Vernon Philander had nervously made his way to one at stumps.
“We’re in with a chance if we can do something similar tomorrow morning, try to eke out a few wickets then chase a score,” Santer said. “The key thing is we didn’t let them get away and that’s what we’ve got to do tomorrow as well.”
S LANKA, BANGLADESH
AP, GALLE, Sri Lanka
Captain Rangana Herath claimed six wickets in the second innings to help Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 259 runs in the first Test in Galle yesterday.
Sri Lanka dismissed Bangladesh for 197 runs in their second innings in the penultimate session of the match to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Resuming on their overnight score of 67-0, Bangladesh had big hopes of saving the Test, but lost opener Soumya Sarkar to the second delivery of the day when Asela Gunaratne bowled him for 53. The tourists never recovered.
Mominul Haque was trapped LBW for five by Dilruwan Perera, with the batsman unsuccessfully challenging the decision.
Herath then struck twice in an over to get a firm grip on the game. Former captain Shakib Al Hasan was spectacularly caught by Dimuth Karunaratne at leg-slip for eight and two deliveries later Mahmudullah Riyad was trapped LBW without scoring.
With Bangladesh losing five wickets in the first hour, their hopes of drawing the match were fading fast.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim and wicketkeeper Liton Das took the team through to lunch without further drama, adding 54 runs for the sixth wicket, while dark clouds gave the visitors some hope.
However, the sixth-wicket stand was broken soon after lunch when Mushfiqur was caught behind down the leg-side off Lakshan Sandakan for 34.
There was not much resistance from the tail as Sri Lanka wrapped up the game well before tea to go 1-0 up in the series.
Stand-in captain Herath entered the records books when he dismissed Liton Das to claim his 363rd Test scalp and go past Daniel Vettori’s record for the most Test wickets by a left-arm spinner.
Herath completed his 29th five-wicket haul in Tests when he bowled Mustafizur Rahman for a duck.
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