GALLE, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Sri Lanka off-spinner Dilruwan Perera took six wickets in the second innings for a match-haul of 10, as the hosts registered a thumping 278-run win over South Africa inside three days of the opening test on Saturday.
South Africa were all out for 73 in their second innings, the worst for them in Sri Lanka. They were bundled out for 126 in the first innings on Friday, their previous lowest total in the island nation.
Perera followed up his first-innings figures of 4-46 with six for 32 in the second, his best bowling figures in tests, with veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath picking up three.
Sri Lanka’s slow bowlers spun a web around South Africa who collapsed for a meagre 126 to concede a significant first innings lead on a spin-dominated second day of the opening test on Friday.
Touring captain Faf du Plessis spent his 34th birthday trying to save his team’s blushes but even his fighting 49, the only 20-plus score in the innings, could not stop South Africa from registering their lowest total in Sri Lanka.
Boosted by a first innings lead of 161, the hosts drove home the advantage to finish the day on 111 for four for an overall lead of 272 runs with six wickets in hand and a victory in sight.
Former captain Angelo Mathews, who was batting on 14 at stumps, and Roshen Silva on 10 will return on Saturday hoping to bat South Africa out of the contest in the first match of the two-test series.
Resuming the day on four for one, the South African batsmen were all at sea against the turning ball and were reeling at 51 for six in the first session.
Du Plessis and Vernon Philander (18) arrested the slide and took South Africa past the 100-mark but then South Africa relapsed, losing their last four wickets for 11 runs.
Dilruwan Perera (4-46) led Sri Lanka’s three-pronged spin attack with aplomb, while stand-in skipper Suranga Lakmal (3-21) also turned in a strong performancde.
Spin reigned supreme in the final session as well with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj claiming 3-37 even though Sri Lanka kept on stretching their lead.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne continued to have a fruitful match, following his first innings 158 with a fluent 60.
Sri Lanka first innings 287 all out ( Dimuth Karunaratne 158 not out, Kagiso Rabada 4 for 50, Tabraiz Shamsi 3 for 91)
South Africa 1st innings
Dean Elgar c Angelo Mathews b Dilruwan Perera 8
Aiden Markram c Angelo Mathews b Rangana Herath 0
Keshav Maharaj lbw Rangana Herath 3
Hashim Amla c Kusal Mendis b Dilruwan Perera 15
Temba Bavuma b Lakshan Sandakan 17
Faf du Plessis b Suranga Lakmal 49
Quinton de Kock b Dilruwan Perera 3
Vernon Philander lbw Dilruwan Perera 18
Kagiso Rabada b Suranga Lakmal 2
Dale Steyn c Angelo Mathews b Suranga Lakmal 8
Tabraiz Shamsi Not Out 0
Extras 2b 0lb 1nb 0pen 0w 3
Total (54.3 overs) 126 all out
Fall of Wickets : 1-1 Markram, 2-9 Maharaj, 3-13 Elgar, 4-40 Amla, 5-48 Bavuma, 6-51 de Kock, 7-115 Philander, 8-115 du Plessis, 9-123 Rabada, 10-126 Steyn
Bowling: Rangana Herath 19-5-39-2, Dilruwan Perera 23-8-46-4, Lakshan Sandakan 8-1-18-1, Suranga Lakmal 4.3-0-21-3
Sri Lanka 2nd innings
Danushka Gunathilaka c Kagiso Rabada b Keshav Maharaj 17
Dimuth Karunaratne c Hashim Amla b Kagiso Rabada 60
Dhananjaya de Silva b Keshav Maharaj 9
Kusal Mendis lbw Keshav Maharaj 0
Angelo Mathews Not Out 14
Roshen Silva Not Out 10
Extras 0b 1lb 0nb 0pen 0w 1
Total (37.0 overs) 111-4
Fall of Wickets : 1-51 Gunathilaka, 2-64 de Silva, 3-64 Mendis, 4-92 Karunaratne
To Bat : Dickwella, Perera, Herath, Lakmal, Sandakan
Bowling : Kagiso Rabada 7-0-28-1, Dale Steyn 5-1-15- 0, Keshav Maharaj 16-4-37-3, Tabraiz Shamsi 6-0-20-0, Vernon Philander 3-0-10-0