Lakmal takes four as Sri Lanka peg back South Africa in first Test
Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal took four first-day wickets to pin back South Africa and leave the opening Test firmly in the balance.
Lakmal’s four for 62 helped restrict the hosts to 267 for six on an historically kind albeit green batting pitch, with JP Duminy’s 63 the highest score on a topsy-turvy day at Port Elizabeth.
South Africa have enjoyed impressive series wins over New Zealand and Australia in the second half of this year and, after electing to bat, they made a strong start with openers Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar putting on 104 for the first wicket.
Lakmal, however, then kicked into gear, drawing Cook (59), Elgar (45) and Hashim Amla (20) all into nicks that were snaffled by his wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal.
Duminy, in free-flowing form, had looked likely to go on where his top order had not but his decision to sweep spinner Rangana Herath proved misjudged, the ball turning back on to his pad to trap him lbw.
Four overs later, Herath, who finished with two for 48, struck again, this time catching the pad of Temba Bavuma, who was out for three to leave South Africa reeling at 225 for five.
The Proteas did steady the ship, before captain Faf du Plessis (37) proved Lakmal’s final victim late in the day, leaving Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander unbeaten on 25 and six respectively at stumps.