Steyn and Philander put South Africa on top

December 15, 2011
Dale Steyn

by Privatemusings

South Africa had an excellent first day of their series against Sri Lanka, as they bowled the visitors out for just 180, and in reply are 90-1 at stumps at SuperSport Park.

Graeme Smith won the toss and had no hesitation in asking Tilakaratne Dilshan and his team to bat first, on a grassy Centurion surface. It was much anticipated before the series that the pace and bounce of all of the South African bowlers would be too much for the Sri Lankan batsman to cope with, and this proved to be the case.

Sri Lanka found themselves immediately in trouble at 12-2 with the experienced Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara back in the pavilion. A third wicket partnership of 54 between Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene gave the visitors hope of a revival.

However, this was short lived when Philander removed opener Paranavitana as he was clean bowled for 32. Further wickets tumbled after lunch with Vernon Philander reproducing another inspired spell of bowling by removing five out of the first seven Sri Lankan batsmen.

When Steyn had Mahela Jayawardene caught by Graeme Smith for 30, South Africa smelt blood. There was some late resistance from top scorer Angelo Mathhews who made 38, but he was given no support by the lower order who were unable to get their body behind the line of the ball, and Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 180 inside 48 overs.

Philander finished with 5-53 and Steyn 4-18, with the other wicket falling to leg spinner Imran Tahir who removed the left handed Perera, well caught at slip by Jacques Kallis. It was Philander’s third five wicket hall in only his third Test match. At the age of 26, Philander burst onto the scene against Australia last month making his debut, and claiming man of the series. It was announced today that Philander will be joining Somerset for the early part of next year’s county season, and on current form it looks as though it is a great signing for the men from the West Country.

In the 34 overs that remained in the day, South Africa reached the close, in a comfortable position of 90-1. It could have been even better had it not been for the late dismissal of Graeme Smith for 61, who was lbw to Dilhara Fernando. It was Smith’s 30th half century in Test match cricket.

Despite losing his own wicket at the close, Smith would have been delighted with the way his side went about their work today. If Sri Lanka are going to get anything out of this series then they must show more fight against South Africa’s fast bowlers, and be prepared to take a few blows in order to preserve their wicket.

Chris Murtagh 15/12/2011

One Comment to “Steyn and Philander put South Africa on top”

  1. Mike
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    Vernon Philander has been a real pick up for South Africa. He looks like someone that could replace Shaun Pollock and bowl wicket to wicket. Mind you he has bowled on a few juicy pitches.

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