Colombo: Keshav Maharaj returned the second best figures by a South African bowler in a Test innings but Sri Lanka took a firm step towards a 2-0 series sweep after thoroughly dominating day two of the second and final Test on Saturday.
South Africa’s spin frailties were laid bare once again as the tourists collapsed for 124 to concede a first innings lead of 214 runs at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.
Sri Lanka, who made 338 in the first innings, were 151-3 at stumps after deciding not to impose follow-on against the tourists who now stare at the possibility of a second successive test defeat inside three days.
Dimuth Karunaratne was batting on 59 at stumps, his fourth successive 50-plus knock in the series, with Angelo Mathews on 12 at the other end.
For South Africa, left arm-spinner Maharaj took his match-haul to 11 wickets but his team were in dire straits.
Sri Lankan openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne put on a quick-fire 91 to set the foundation for another strong score on the Colombo pitch.
Gunathilaka was Sri Lanka’s primary aggressor, hitting six fours and two sixes in his 61 off 68 balls after tea on the second day.
Maharaj struck twice to remove Gunathilaka and Dhananjaya da Silva, for a duck, but Karunaratne progressed smoothly at the other end to reach 59 while Angelo Mathews had 12.
The hosts built up their domineering lead at the end of a day in which their 10th wicket pair added valuable runs to build a first innings of 338. South Africa were then routed by Sri Lanka’s spinners with Akila Dananjaya taking five for 52.
Dananjaya and Rangana Herath frustrated South Africa through the morning session as they added 61 runs to the overnight total.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj eventually dismissed Herath to end the innings, and complete a haul of nine for 129 — the second-best for a South Africa bowler and the best since the country made a post-apartheid return to Tests in 1991. But Sri Lanka’s 338 was always going to be a challenge and Dananjaya, Herath and Dilruwan Perera then tore through the South African batting, already exposed by their defeat in the first Test in Galle.
Dananjaya took his second five-wicket haul in Tests while Herath and Perera shared the remaining five South African wickets. Stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal was not required to deliver a single ball.
Only South Africa captain Faf du Plessis and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock showed resistance, making 48 off 51 balls and 32 off 31 respectively.
South Africa lasted only 34.5 overs, after Sri Lanka had batted for 104.1 overs in their first innings.
Dananjaya, left out for the first Test at Galle, struck with his second ball of the match, having Dean Elgar caught at gully with a turning off break.
He got Theunis de Bruin edging behind in the next over, and Perera picked up the South Africa middle order to finish on four for 40.
The only batsman to put any pressure on Sri Lanka was du Plessis, who attacked the spinners after lunch, sweeping with abandon as he struck eight fours and a six.
Du Plessis and Hashim Amla put on the best partnership of 55, but Perera dismissed them both within four overs of each other. Despite de Kock’s aggressive innings, the remainder of South Africa’s batting were easy meat when Dananjaya came back.
Du Plessis left the field at the end of the day with a worried look on his face.
Sri Lanka 1st innings
D Gunathilaka c Rabada b Maharaj 57
D Karunaratne c de Kock b Maharaj 53
D de Silva lbw Maharaj 60
K Mendis c Rabada b Maharaj 21
A Mathews c du Plessis b Maharaj 10
R Silva b Rabada 22
N Dickwella c du Plessis b Maharaj 5
D Perera c Ngidi b Maharaj 17
A Dananjaya not out 43
S Lakmal c Markram b Maharaj 0
R Herath c Elgar b Maharaj 35
Extras 4b 2lb 1nb 8w 15
Total (104.1 overs) 338 all out
Fall of Wickets: 1-116, 2-117, 3-153, 4-169, 5-223, 6-238, 7-247, 8-264, 9-264, 10-338
Bowling: Steyn 17-3-60-0, Rabada 20-3-55-1, Ngidi 14.2-1-54-0, Maharaj 41.1-10-129-9, Markram 8.4-1-24-0, Elgar 3-1-10-0
South Africa 1st innings
A Markram lbw Herath 7
D Elgar c De Silva b Dananjaya 0
T de Bruin c Dickwella b Dananjaya 3
H Amla c Mendis b Perera 19
F du Plessis c Dickwella b Perera 48
T Bavuma c Mendis b Perera 11
Q de Kock lbw Dananjaya 32
K Maharaj c Karunaratne b Dananjaya 2
K Rabada c Mathews b Perera 1
D Steyn lbw Dananjaya 0
L Ngidi not out 0
Extras 0b 0lb 1nb 0w 1
Total (34.5 overs) 124 all out
Fall of Wickets: 1-4, 2-8, 3-15, 4-70, 5-85, 6-114, 7-119, 8-124, 9-124, 10-124
Bowling: Perera 12.5-1-40-4, Dananjaya 13-2-52-5, Herath 9 1 32 1 3.56
Sri Lanka 2nd innings
D Gunathilaka c Elgar b Maharaj 61
D Karunaratne not out 59
D de Silva lbw Maharaj 0
K Mendis run out Markram 18
A Mathews not out 12
Extras 0b 0lb 1nb 0w 1
Total (34.0 overs) 151-3
Fall of Wickets: 1-91, 2-102, 3-136
Bowling: Maharaj 17 0 90 2, Rabada 4 0 22 0, Markram 3 1 9 0, De Bruyn 3 0 13 0, Steyn 4 1 11 0, Ngidi 2 1 4 0, Elgar 1 0 2 0