Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar make inroads into Sri Lanka’s 396 as visitors’ injuries mount

Sri Lanka
Dean Elgar faces Kasun Rajitha on the second day at Centurion © AFP via Getty Images

South Africa 45 for 0 (Markram 27*, Elgar 15*) trail Sri Lanka 396 (Chandimal 85, de Silva 79, Sipamla 4-76) by 351 runs

Sri Lanka added 56 to their overnight score, thanks largely to powerful hitting from Dasun Shanaka, but suffered another injury blow as South Africa made an assured start to their innings.

Kasun Rajitha had hung around with the bat in the first 40 minutes of play, as Shanaka’s blows propelled Sri Lanka towards 400 and grew the partnership to its eventual 67.

But with lunch on the horizon, Rajitha broke down in the middle of his third over with the ball, and went off the field with a suspected groin injury. If it turns out that he can no longer bowl in this match, Sri Lanka are down to just three frontline bowlers, plus the gentle seam-bowling of Shanaka.

Earlier in the day, it was confirmed that Dhananjaya de Silva (who contributes offspin to the attack, in addition to being a batsman), has torn his left quadricep, and will play no further part in the match.

Before Rajitha’s injury soured Sri Lanka’s morning, however, they were buoyed by some excellent lower-order batting. South Africa’s fastest bowlers had peppered both overnight batsmen with bouncers early in the day – Anrich Nortje getting so much lift that the ball repeatedly passed over Quinton de Kock’s outstretched arm, and skipped away for four byes.Sri Lanka added 56 to their overnight score, thanks largely to powerful hitting from Dasun Shanaka, but suffered another injury blow as South Africa made an assured start to their innings.

Kasun Rajitha had hung around with the bat in the first 40 minutes of play, as Shanaka’s blows propelled Sri Lanka towards 400 and grew the partnership to its eventual 67. But with lunch on the horizon, Rajitha broke down in the middle of his third over with the ball, and went off the field with a suspected groin injury. If it turns out that he can no longer bowl in this match, Sri Lanka are down to just three frontline bowlers, plus the gentle seam-bowling of Shanaka. Earlier in the day, it was confirmed that Dhananjaya de Silva (who contributes offspin to the attack, in addition to being a batsman), has torn his left quadricep, and will play no further part in the match.

Before Rajitha’s injury soured Sri Lanka’s morning, however, they were buoyed by some excellent lower-order batting. South Africa’s fastest bowlers had peppered both overnight batsmen with bouncers early in the day – Anrich Nortje getting so much lift that the ball repeatedly passed over Quinton de Kock’s outstretched arm, and skipped away for four byes.

But although he had Rajitha ducking out of the way, Shanaka chose to attack the bouncer, bludgeoning Nortje into the banks beyond deep midwicket to get to his fifty, before pummelling him over third man a few balls later. Earlier, Lungi Ngidi had also been hooked over fine leg for six. Shanaka hit five sixes and three fours in his eventual 66 not out off 87 balls.

Debutant Lutho Sipamla was the best of South Africa’s quicks on day two, attacking the stumps where his colleagues had gone short. It took him only two overs to wipe out Sri Lanka’s tail, having Rajitha caught in the slips and bowlng Vishwa Fernando the very next ball, before Lahiru Kumara was caught by a juggling Rassie van der Dussen at first slip in the next over. He took 4 for 76 for the innings – the best on South Africa’s card.

Aiden Markram appeared especially confident with the bat as he struck five fours and eased to 27 off 39 before lunch. Dean Elgar was on 15 off 30. Sri Lanka’s depleted attack were yet to pose major challenges to either batsman by the break.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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