Port Elizabeth: Dhananjaya de Silva kept Sri Lanka's hopes alive with a defiant innings on the second day of the first Test against South Africa at St George's Park on Tuesday.
De Silva made 43 not out as Sri Lanka struggled to 181 for seven - still 105 runs behind South Africa's first innings total of 286 - before bad light ended play.
South African new ball bowlers Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott put the Sri Lankan batsmen under pressure in seam-friendly conditions, with the first three wickets falling for 22 runs.
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Day 1 ended on a fascinating note with hosts South Africa seemingly set for a decent total but Sri Lanka kept pulling stings at the right time to keep the match in balance.
Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander are on crease but Suranga Lakmal's 4-wicket haul grabbed the headlines. The seamer took four for 62 in 23 overs as South Africa reached 267 for six at the end of a day on which they failed to capitalize on a century opening partnership between Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar.
Opening bowler Suranga Lakmal pegged back the hosts by taking the first three wickets and later dismissed South Africa captain Faf du Plessis. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took two wickets, including that of JP Duminy, South Africa’s top scorer with a fluent 63.
When Du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat on a well-grassed but slow pitch, it was anticipated that the first two hours would be the most difficult for batsmen, with early life before moisture in the surface dried out.
(With AFP inputs)