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Advantage SL after Day 1
27 Jul 2006
By: Sudeep Popat


South Africa got off to a lukewarm start in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo, as they were bundled out for 169. At stumps, Sri Lanka had reached 128 for 2, just 41 runs behind the visitors.

Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan orchestrated the Protean collapse, picking up four wickets each, never allowing the batsmen to get settle in. Having won the toss, captain Ashwell Prince decided to have the first dash on the wicket, although with one batsman short, as Boeta Dippenaar was left out for the fifth bowler, Dale Steyn, and no Graeme Smith or Jacques Kallis.

South Africa seemed to be advancing precariously till lunch with the score at 78-2, having lost the openers, Andrew Hall and Herschelle Gibbs, bowled to Fernand. But after the break, all havoc broke loose, with Muralitharan, who earlier survived an injury scare, ripping through the batting order with ease. In particular, Muralitharan's dismissal of Hashim Amla, stumped off a doosra, seemed the most remarkable.

Of note among the South African batsmen was only AB de Villiers, who despite the crumbling batsmen around him played positively and confidently. He was Muralitharan?s fourth victim, when he was out caught by Chamara Kapugedra, on 65, as the innings ended.

Sri Lanka got off to a shaky start too, as Steyn ripped through the openers within the first four overs. However, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene brought them back on track, by scoring half centuries, in an unbeaten 114-run partnership. The former was let off twice, and made sure the bowlers paid for the same, by thrashing 10 boundaries.

South Africa 169 all out
AB de Villiers 65
CRD Fernando 4-48, M Muralitharan 4-41
Sri Lanka 128-2
KC Sangakkara 59*, DPMD Jayawardene 55*
DW Steyn 2-30

Sri Lanka trail by 41 runs with eight first innings wickets in hand.

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