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UPDATE 2-Cricket-Fernando strikes keep Sri Lanka in front in first test

Updated: 13-02-2019 18:45 IST
UPDATE 2-Cricket-Fernando strikes keep Sri Lanka in front in first test

Sri Lanka seamer Vishwa Fernando struck three times as the tourists reduced South Africa to 181 for seven at tea on the opening day of the first test at Kingsmead on Wednesday.

The home side have battled on a lively wicket and will look to Quinton de Kock (44 not out) and Kagiso Rabada (one not out) to take them closer to what looks to be a par first innings score of around 300 in the evening session. After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Sri Lanka had South Africa three down with 17 runs on the board before Faf du Plessis (35) and Temba Bavuma (47) put on 72 for the fourth wicket to calm home nerves.

But Sri Lanka continued to chip away at the wickets column despite a positive run-rate from the hosts that saw them score 92 runs in the afternoon session after going to lunch at 89 for four. Fernando (3-49) was most impressive with the new ball as he had opener Dean Elgar caught by Dickwella for a duck, and then clean-bowled the dangerous Aiden Markram (11).

In between those wickets, new ball partner Suranga Lakmal struck to remove the experienced Hashim Amla (3), caught at second slip by Kusal Mendis. Du Plessis and Bavuma had their fair share of good fortune as they fought to survive on a seaming wicket and under cloudy skies in Durban, before the former's luck finally ran out, tickling a Kasun Rajitha delivery down the leg side to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella with the last ball before lunch.

Bavuma showed good application to move to 47 before he was out in unfortunate circumstances, a straight drive from De Kock deflecting off the boot of bowler Fernando and onto the stumps with the batsman out of his crease. Vernon Philander (4) was caught and bowled by Rajitha off a rising delivery that cramped him for room, before Keshav Maharaj (29) put on 47 with De Kock but was caught by Dikwella off Fernando just before tea.

The tourists have handed a debut to spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, while South Africa have recalled slow bowler Maharaj for batsman Theunis de Bruyn. Sri Lanka have an unbeaten record in their previous two tests at Kingsmead, drawing in 2000 and then claiming a handsome 208-run victory in 2011. (Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly, Christian Radnedge and Jan Harvey)