South Africa v Sri Lanka 1st Betway Cricket Test Summary
The 1st Betway Test Match was played between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Centurion’s SuperSport Park between 26th – 30th December 2020. As with all other sporting events during 2020 the match was played behind closed doors. At least we got to see some cricket. It also turned out to be a great victory for South Africa. Read our cricket test match summery below if you missed any of the Boxing Day test.
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South Africa Test Form coming into this Series
South Africa lost their last away series in India 3-0 at the end of 2019. They were hoping to bounce back at home in the summer against the visiting England.
Things were looking good when the hosts won the 2019 Boxing day Test Match against England at Newlands. The high would not last long with South Africa going on to lose the series 3-1. The first back to back home series loss since the 1950s.
We have not had a lot of red ball cricket leading up to this series as a result of COVID-19. Needless to say we were very happy the match was on and ended with a result.
South African Players Receive Maiden test call-ups
Injuries to Kagiso Rabada – the world #6 test bowler – and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, meant reinforcements had to be called in. This made way for 2 new players.
Top-order batsman and former U-19 captain Raynard van Tonder & fast bowler Lutho Sipamla were added to the SA squad.
Sipamla made his debut and announced himself to the test world with match figures of 6 for 100 runs. Van Tonder who is currently the leading run scorer in the SA domestic four-day series will have to wait a little longer for his debut. Who knows, perhaps Wanderers could be his chance.
For Sri Lanka, Wanindu Hasaranga made his debut and impressed with his bowling finishing the match with 4/171.
Sri Lanka 1st Innings Highlights
There was an early breakthrough for South Africa when Ngidi bowled Karunaratne with the visitors on 28. Not long after, Ngidi was in action again, although not as bowler this time. Ngidi took an easy catch at mid-on when Nortjie picked up his only scalp of the innings with the visitors on 54.
Mulder joined the party in the next over when he took the wicket of K. Perera with the batsmen on 16. The visitors’ score on 54/3.
The excitement was to be short-lived for the hosts when Chandimal and DM de Silva settled down and started rebuilding. The two put together a beautiful 4th wicket partnership of 131 when disaster struck. De Silva took a quick single while on 79 and what looked like a cramp ended up being a series ending hamstring tear. He will no longer play a role in the tour.
The score was on 185/3. Dickwela made his way to the middle and along with Chandimal put together a 5th wicket partnership of 99 before Mulder picked up is 2nd of the innings. Chandimal was caught off guard by some extra bounce in the pitch while playing at it and Faf taking an easy catch. He scored 85.
At Tea on the 1st Day, the visitors were standing on 290/4. Dickwela batted on but was caught LBW by that man Mulder on 49. Sri Lanka’s core on 296/5.
Sri Lanka’s Shanaka was the last man standing with an unbeaten 66 of 87 balls. He helped push the visitor’s 1st innings total to a respectable 396.
South Africa 1st Innings Highlights
Markram and Elgar started proceedings of in a hurry and quickly reached 50 runs in the 13th over. The two opening batsmen continued to shine and brought up the 100-run partnership in the 22nd over. They pushed on to the drinks break where the score stood on an unbeaten 129.
South Africa lost their 1st wicket, that of Markram, with the score on 141. An impressive first wicket partnership. Rassie van der Dussen was the man in at No.3 and along with Elgar put 59 runs on the board before Rassie nicked one to the keeper while on 15.
Former captain, Faf du Plessis, was the new man at the crease. Along with Elgar the in man and in the nervous 90s looked sure to score a 100. It was not to be for Dean this time. The next over Dean Elgar was caught & bowled by Shanaka, he was on 95. Still, a well-played innings.
Captain De Cock joined the former captain in the middle. He straight away showed that he was not going to hang around. With 3 quick 4s he raced to 18 runs of only 11 balls but then gave his wicket away to the Sri Lankan debutant Hasaranga.
The Faf and Bavuma Show
The hosts, having gone from 141 for no loss to 223/4 had to start rebuilding themselves. And that is just what they did.
Bavuma joined Faf and the pair proceeded to swing the match back in favour of the hosts with both batsmen sticking around for the remainder of the day. With du Plessis on 55 and Bavuma 41 and South Africa on 317/4 at close of play on Day 2. South Africa still trailing Sri Lanka’s 1st innings total by 79 runs.
Day 3 saw South Africa get off to a good start. Both batsmen adding to their overnight scores and reaching their 50s. At the time of drinks, Bavuma was on 64 and Faf on 76.
With the 5th wicket partnership standing on 179 runs, Bavuma slashed at one and missed. This did not stop the batsmen walking off leaving the commentators speechless as they watched the replays and noticing there was no contact between bat and ball. Bavuma out for 71.
South Africa Push on and Into the Lead
At lunch, the hosts had passed Sri Lanka’s 1st innings total and was standing on 435/5. The man of the moment Faf, unbeaten on 112, his 10th Test century.
Du Plessis and Mulder both had a few lucky escapes while building their 77-run partnership. Mulder finally succumbed to Hasaranga the next ball after being dropped on the ball before.
With Maharaj at the crease, he and Faf continued to make light work of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. The bowlers now were visibly exhausted. Faf brought up his 150 in the 114th over with South Africa on 498/6.
At Tea on the 3rd day, South Africa had reached a massive 565/6, a lead of 169 runs and the man of the moment, Faf du Plessis on 177 and Maharaj on an unbeaten 43. Faf and Maharaj brought up the 100-run stand not long after the tea break.
Cricket Test Records are there to be broken
With the score on 585/6 it also meant that it was South Africa’s highest Test total against Sri Lanka ever.
South Africa passed the 600-run mark in the 136th over with Faf on 196, just 4 runs away from a double ton.
It was not to be. With du Plessis on 199, he tried playing one over the top but did not get hold of it as well as he would have wanted to and ended up picking out the man at mid-on. His highest test score and probably one of the now 36-year old’s greatest innings.
Nortje was the next man in, and did not last long, losing his wicket for 0 after facing only 3 balls. Debutant Sipmala falling just 2 balls later, also for 0 with Maharaj the last man to fall for a well-played 73.
South Africa, now with the highest test score at SuperSport Park ended their innings on 621. A 1st innings lead of 225.
Sri Lanka 2nd Innings Highlights
With roughly 12 overs left to bowl on Day 3, Sri Lanka found them in a spot of bother when Ngidi clean bowled Karunaratne for 6 in the 3rd over with the visitors on 10. Ngidi followed up his performance of his previous over with another wicket, this time that of Mendis for 0.
At close of play on Day 3, Sri Lanka stood on 65/2 still trailing South Africa by a massive 160 runs.
Day 4 saw Kusal Perera on 33 and Dinesh Chandimal on 21 forged on for Sri Lanka. The pair battled on, adding 63 runs for the 3rd wicket partnership before Mulder bowled Chandimal for 25.
Sri Lanka on 99/4 and Perera the only truly recognised batsmen left standing, the visitors found it difficult to get going again, losing wickets regularly and their last 4 wickets for a measly 26 runs.
South Africa finally wrapped up the match by an innings and 45 runs and in the process earning an extra day’s rest.
Sipamla finishing his debut test match with figures of 6 wickets for 100 runs. Mulder playing only in his 2nd test also one of the other standout performers with both bat and ball. Bagging 5 wickets and adding 36 runs with the bat.
The Man of the match award went to Faf du Plessis with his best test score of 199.
Cricket Test Match Summary
Overall, it was a good cricket test match. Sri Lanka will be worried with the number of injuries they have picked up. They do have enough replacements available and have also said that they will not make wholesale changes to the team for the 2nd test.
South Africa can now not lose this series, but a draw will not be good enough. They want the series win, and Sri Lanka will not lie down or just give it to the host on a silver platter, it will have to be earned.
The teams next head to Wanderers for the 2nd Betway Cricket Test – the New Years’ test. Play scheduled to start on 3rd of January 2021.
No confirmation on starting 11 yet for South Africa, but we hope to see another debutant or 2 in action.
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