Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Sri Lanka vs South Africa

Sri Lanka vs South Africa

South Africa collapsed dramatically against Sri lanka s spin to crash to 73 all out in the first Test in Galle on Saturday, their lowest total since readmission to global cricket.

Commentator and former Sri Lanka worldwide Russel Arnold most starkly summed up South Africa's ignominy: "199 for 20", he chortlingly reminded of the visitors' match tally, hardly having to reach for any further salt to sprinkle on the wound.

Skipper Faf du Plessis made a gritty 49 and his 64-run seventh-wicket partnership with Vernon Philander, who made 18, was the best that South Africa could muster in their 54.3 overs.

Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera bowled unchanged from one end to claim career-best figures of 6-32 - his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests - and end with match figures of 10-78.

1 - This is the first time in Test history that Sri Lanka have taken 20 wickets in a Test for less than 200 runs.

"We've only got ourselves to blame", he told reporters after the game. "I think the numbers would say yes", the South African skipper said. "But there wasn't any demons in the wicket at any stage while we were playing", he said.

Captain Faf du Plessis acknowledged their batting lineup was no match for the Sri Lanka spin attack and said they needed to improvise against the hosts to level the series. Though they lost a series in England in mid-2017, they won in Australia in late 2016 and they have enjoyed two successful home summers, beating Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Australia.

"We know the Sri Lankan spinners are very, very good, especially in their own conditions".

The only answer then is to play more high-pressure matches in the subcontinent, something the new FTP does not make a lot of provision for. "Today, it spun a little bit more than yesterday".

Angelo Mathews, on 14, and Roshen Silva, on 10, were batting at close of play after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj claimed three wickets for South Africa.

"We didn't expect to get them bowled out for 126, though". "So we could have even come a month earlier but if you're practicing on facilities that don't spin, you're not going to get what you get out there [in the Tests]". So you have to give credit to Sri Lanka for doing that well.

The Galle pitch, though spinner-friendly, was not outlandish and the bowlers relied more on accuracy than mystery. "I didn't think the wicket was that bad". "If you play six batters on pitches that are not flat - whether it be green or spinning, it puts a lot of pressure on your top six to score the runs".

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