Kagiso leads the charge in Sri Lanka
All 10 wickets fall as SA bowlers rule on first day
Kagiso Rabada led a strong bowling performance that saw the Proteas take all 10 Sri Lanka first-innings wickets inside 80 overs on the opening day of the two-match Test series at Galle on Thursday.
At one stage it looked as though the Proteas were holding an overwhelmingly strong position when they had the home side 176/8 shortly after tea, but opening batsman Dalmuth Karunaratne rallied tailend support to see the last two wickets add 111 to the total and give Sri Lanka a much more competitive 287 all out.
Karunaratne became the fourth Sri Lankan to carry his bat in a magnificent innings of 158 not out (222 balls, 13 fours and a six).
It was his eighth Test century and the fourth time he has made more than 150.
Sri Lanka then completed an excellent session by taking the wicket of Aiden Markram in the four overs the Proteas had to face before the close.
Spin bowling will be a factor throughout the match but the pitch still looks a good one for batting at this stage.
Rabada moved smoothly back into Test match mode after an extended break to recover from his back strain and was always a threat as he took 4/50 in 14 overs.
That included the initial breakthrough in his opening spell and a sensational start to his second spell when he took two wickets off the first three balls he sent down.
The Proteas included Tabraiz Shamsi as a fifth specialist bowler as they continued the attacking approach that has been the hallmark of Ottis Gibson’s reign as head coach, and the move paid off.
The wrist spinner had an excellent day with a career-best return of 3/91 in 25.4 overs.
The first 20 of those overs came in a single spell and for a long time, as well as the wickets he took, he conceded little more than two runs an over.
He came on to bowl at 67/1 after 18 overs and, when he was rested, Sri Lanka had slumped to 211/8 in 57 which was a clear indication of his value.
His control was impressive and Karunaratne was the only Sri Lanka batsman to pick his varieties with confidence.
By blocking one end, he enabled Faf du Plessis to launch a short-pitch attack from the other end by Rabada and the returning Dale Steyn.
It worked for the first 60 overs before the Proteas attack started to tire.
The five-man attack has given the Proteas a good position that the specialist batsmen will need to consolidate on day two.