Dean Elgar’s hundred and a half-century from Quinton de Kock helped South Africa recover from rocky patches to reach 297 for 6 at the end of the first day of the second Test at Newlands on Monday (January 2).
Elgar, the left-handed opener, hit a career-best 129, staying calm even as wickets tumbled around him. He shared a vital 103-run partnership for the sixth wicket with de Kock, the duo lifting the side from 169 for 5.
De Kock was batting at 68 at the close, with Kyle Abbott by his side unbeaten on 16.
After Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, asked the home side to bat, his seam bowlers took advantage of a grassy pitch and overcast sky.
Stephen Cook, the star of South Africa’s 206-run win in the first Test in Port Elizabeth, was out off the fourth ball of the match, caught behind off the bowling of Suranga Lakmal, before a run had been scored.
Elgar and Hashim Amla rebuilt to take the score to 66, when Lahiru Kumara, the 19-year-old fast bowler, struck twice. Kumara, who replaced Dushmantha Chameera in one of two changes from the side that lost in Port Elizabeth, had Amla bowled between bat and pad by an inswinger for 29. Five balls later, JP Duminy gloved a leg-side catch to a diving Kusal Mendis who took his second catch of the day.
Mendis was keeping in place of Dinesh Chandimal, named in the side only as a batsman.
Rangana Herath kept up the pressure on the South African batsmen with some tight bowling, and dismissed Faf du Plessis, the captain, shortly before tea. Du Plessis edged a drive to slip and was caught by Mathews for 38.
Temba Bavuma could add only 10 runs before he became Kumara’s third victim of the day. Kumara would finish the day with 3 for 86 for all his pace and aggression. Playing in only his third Test and sixth first-class game, it was the first time he had taken more than two wickets in an innings at the first-class level.
That was when Elgar was joined by de Kock and the two helped turn things around.
Elgar’s solid 230-ball innings, which included 15 fours, finished in the 85th over of the day, when Lakmal had him caught behind. It was his sixth Test century and two runs better than his previous highest Test score, made against Australia in Perth in November. As for de Kock, when he reached 41, he got to 1000 Test runs in just 23 innings, making him the fifth fastest among South Africans to get to the milestone.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)