Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, struck half-centuries as Sri Lanka declared its second innings on 229 for 8 to set South Africa a target of 369 on Sunday (July 27), the fourth day of the series-deciding second Test at Colombo. Sangakkara scored 72, his tenth score in excess of 50 this year, while Mathews remained unbeaten on 63.
In reply, South Africa lost Alviro Petersen, who fell for a duck, early, when he was caught off Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner before reaching 38 for 1 after 17 overs when stumps were drawn. The visitor now needs 331 more runs off a minimum of 98 overs to be bowled on the final day.
Sri Lanka started off on a positive note, scoring 97 in the morning session, maintaining a brisk scoring rate. However, it lost three wickets in doing so.
Upul Tharanga (30) was the first to fall when he was caught behind off Dale Steyn in the sixth over of the morning. Kaushal Silva, Tharanga’s opening partner, was the next to fall, when he offered a simple catch to Vernon Philander at point off the bowling of Morne Morkel, to depart for 26.
Mahela Jayawardene, the first-innings centurion, fell without scoring, when an attempted reverse sweep resulted in the ball popping up for Dean Elgar to rush in from short leg and take the catch as Sri Lanka went into lunch at 108 for 3 after 30 overs.
Rain interrupted play for an hour after the break, following which Sri Lanka started off confidently, with Sangakkara unleashing his trademark strokes. However, his stay was brought to an end, when he edged a Morkel delivery to Quinton de Kock.
Kithuruwan Vithanage fell soon after when Faf du Plessis took a superb catch, running backwards before diving forward to hand Morkel his third wicket.
Niroshan Dickwella, the debutant, then top edged Steyn to AB de Villiers, and Tahir castled Dilruwan Perera before Morkel sent back Herath, prompting Mathews to declare the innings.
Morkel returned 4 for 45, with Steyn (2 for 59) and Tahir (2 for 76) supporting him well.
South Africa leads the two-Test series 1-0 having won the opening Test in Galle by 153 runs. It will now look to save the Test match as even a draw in this match would suffice for it to displace Australia and take its place as the No.1 ranked Test team in the world.