Perera takes six as Sri Lanka demolish South Africa in 1st Test

Sri Lanka players celebrate a wicket / Getty Images    
    
      MATCH REPORT

South Africa collapsed dramatically against Sri lanka s spin to crash to 73 all out in the first Test in Galle on Saturday, their lowest total since readmission to global cricket. But their bubble was emphatically burst at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday (July 14) when Sri Lanka hammered them by 278 runs in the first Test which ended well inside three days.

It was also their lowest total in Sri Lanka, eclipsing the 126 they posted in the first innings on Friday.

Earlier, veteran Dale Steyn claimed his 421st wicket in test cricket to equal the South African record held by former great Shaun Pollock when he dismissed last man Lakshan Sandakan to end Sri Lanka's second innings at 190.

It was not until left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj joined Philander at the crease with the score on 36 for 6 that South Africa began to show any resistance, and even that partnership was snuffed out in 22 balls.

7 - South Africa's 73 is the joint-seventh lowest Test total by any team in a Test match in Asia.

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Lakmal hastened South Africa's collapse with a superb piece of seam bowling accounting for the last three batsmen including captain Du Plessis, who was clean bowled by a delivery that cut back in sharply.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne continued to have a fruitful match, following his first innings 158 with a fluent 60. This is the joint-third lowest along with the 73 Sri Lanka managed against Pakistan at Kandy in 2006.

South Africa have been routed for their lowest total since readmission to global cricket in 1992, suffering an embarrassing loss to Sri Lanka. I think that's the biggest difference when you play in the subcontinent. You bat first on a wicket that was never going to be a high-scoring pitch - I think we had them at 115/5, and we let them to get to 287. We expected it to be tough. "As much as the Sri Lankans will look to their spinners to pick 20 wickets, we know in conditions that are dry the wet ball can reverse".

The match started to slip away from South Africa right from the off. When Quinton de Kock completely missed the ball to be bowled, South Africa were in deep trouble at 36/6. That's the immediate question facing the brainstrust after the Proteas were entranced by the spin wizards of Sri Lanka in this truncated first Test.

Perhaps finally breaking it in Colombo next week in the second Test in what will hopefully be more favourable circumstances for the world's No 2 Test side simply have to turn it around if they are to salvage this series.

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